Greg Bartolai, 52, of Coconut Creek, goes the extra mile for seniors.
Not only does he deliver meals to seniors through Heart2Heart’s Food for Hope program every week. Greg also took on the responsibility of driving seniors to Heart2Heart special events.
For his willingness to serve and provide needed companionship to seniors throughout our community, we’ve named Greg Heart2Heart’s March Volunteer of the Month for March.
For more than 10 years, volunteering has become a way of life for Greg, and not just through Heart2Heart.
“I feel it’s important to give back to the community,” he said. “Heart2Heart seemed like a great way to help those seniors who need assistance and help.”
Food and conversation
Every week, Greg delivers meals to seniors in need through the Food for Hope program. In particular, he has connected to a man who is originally from England. Greg loves his quaint, English accent and enjoys listening to him talk about soccer.
“In November, when the World Cup was going on, he was telling me how excited he was for England and all the goings on. They enjoy their soccer even more than we do in the States,” Greg said. “He’s a real nice gentleman and very appreciative, always smiling.”
Taking the extra time to sit and engage with seniors seems like a simple thing to Greg. However, it means the world to those seniors, who may not have anyone else to talk to that week.
“Seniors are so appreciative of any little thing you do for them – helping them, even just getting their meal,” Greg said. “Just talking with them and showing some love and concern for them – you see that in their smiles and in their faces and make you feel like you’re providing something to them.”
More personal than a taxi
Greg also volunteers at community events that Heart2Heart hosts, such as the Valentine’s Day heart screening or the Age My Way event.
“Heart2Heart provides lunch, and they have Zumba classes, games and things for seniors to enjoy and get involved in, just mingle with others.” Greg said. “A lot of times, the seniors just want someone to talk and visit with.”
Sometimes seniors are bussed from care centers to enjoy these social events. However, seniors who live on their own might have a hard time attending because they cannot drive themselves or find other transportation.
So Greg gives them a ride. Even though he still works full-time, he is always willing to jump in to assist whenever he can.
“What really impacts you is you feel like you are making a difference,” Greg said. “You’re providing some kind of service, even just companionship. Some of these seniors feel lonely by themselves.
Greg feels lucky to have a great family, great friends and a job that gives him financial stability. That’s why it’s important to give back.
“It makes me feel good,” he said.