ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A thousand Pinellas County senior citizens are now a little more prepared for a major storm in the Bay area, thanks to some help arriving at the height of this year's hurricane season. 

  • County partnered with Duke Energy Foundation, Meals on Wheels
  • Kits include flashlight, batteries, poncho, first-aid kit, more
  • Officials: Make sure you have emergency plans in place

On Friday, Pinellas County Emergency Management partnered with the Duke Energy Foundation and Neighborly Care Network’s "Meals on Wheels" to provide emergency storm preparedness kits to residents across the county.

Eddie Thompson, 75, was one of the recipients and is grateful for the help.

"I would have big problems if I didn't have 'Meals on Wheels,'" Thompson said.

Thompson uses a wheelchair to get around and can’t make frequent trips to the store. He relies on "Meals on Wheels" for a hot plate and good conversation. 

He was excited to see the storm preparedness kit arrive with his delivery. 

The kits include a flashlight, first aid kid, poncho, hand sanitizer, whistle, wet wipes, batteries, portable fan, playing cards, foil blanket, glow stick, and the Pinellas County All-Hazards Preparedness Guide. They contain enough essentials to help families survive at least one week without power, sewer service, or clean drinking water.

"To have the little things, we all go shopping but forget a flashlight or extra batteries," said volunteer Valerie Taylor. "This way they'll have it, it's self-contained and all in one spot."

Volunteers said many of the residents they greet are alone and need to feel safe. They hope to bring extra support so all Pinellas County residents can be prepared.

"Many of them are elderly and they rely on family to come and get them and a lot of times the family doesn't see them," Taylor said.

Pinellas County Emergency Management leaders encourage all residents and businesses to make sure that their personal emergency plans are in place. Those who need help in case of an evacuation can pre-register for transportation assistance to a special needs shelter by visiting