TAMPA, Fla. — It was more than a year and a half ago that the state of Florida made a big push to make COVID-19 vaccines readily available to seniors.
Now, after the vaccines and booster shots, many seniors say they are comfortable going back to everyday living.
What You Need To Know
- After COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots were made available to seniors, many said they were comfortable going back to everyday living
- Donald Clark does not let age get in his way of serving his community and has been volunteering with Seniors in Service for the past six years
- The nonprofit places seniors in volunteer positions all across Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties
For seniors like Donald Clark, that means getting out into the community and volunteering.
Donald, who volunteers at Trinity Cafe, said he has his routine down to a “tea."
“My situation is, when they open the doors, I’ve got 45 thirsty people coming through the doors," he said. "So I gotta be ready for them."
He just celebrated his 90th birthday and said he doesn’t let age get in the way.
“My mother lived to be 99 1/2, my sister is 94 as of today, so on my mother’s side I’ve got good genes,” he said with a smile.
For the past six years, he’s volunteered with Seniors in Service and spends time at Trinity Cafe feeding people in need.
He’s the guy prepping all the iced tea and waters.
“Some of these people I see very day and some I’ll never see again,” he said.
The nonprofit places seniors in volunteer positions all across Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
“I used to one day a week, and then after my wife died I started coming more than that," Donald said. "Now, I come anywhere between four and six days a week."
He says it keeps him busy, which he says helps him move around so well.
“That is one thing, keep doing something, not just sit and watch TV all the time," Donald said. "I’m single, I live by myself, how much can I clean? Which I don’t."
During the pandemic, like many seniors, Donald said he wasn’t able to get out much.
“Probably for about a year, year and a half, I didn’t show up at all," he said. "Then I started coming back after I got my shots from the VA."
It’s a common trend the nonprofit’s director, Robin Ingles, is seeing across the board: The seniors are back.
“A lot of people have kind of reevaluated their lives," she said. "Seniors who have focused on their careers or their own families, and now they’re retired and now they’re thinking, ‘I could be out there helping the community.’ So it’s wonderful to see them out again."
For Donald, he says volunteer work keeps him feeling 90 years young.
“It makes you feel good that you're giving service to people," he said. "What their situation is, I don’t know — I don’t ask, they don’t ask. All we know is they’re hungry, we feed them."
From helping feed the community to working with kids and veterans, Seniors in Service has been around since 1984 and offers many volunteer opportunities across the region.