PALMETTO, Fla (WFLA) – Hungry seniors have been frustrated and frightened at the Carlyn Estates mobile home park in Palmetto. They reached out to 8 On Your Side for help when, they said, food bank deliveries were being banned from the park.
In addition, when food was delivered, management would trail behind the delivery van in a golf cart, watching every move, residents said. Some residents told News Channel 8 they were scared to take the food and would turn it down, fearing eviction. “She told us she’d kick us out if we accept food,” one said.
“They’re scared. They really are scared because they don’t want to be evicted. She cannot evict you for getting food,” another resident, Rodney Piatt, said.
When 8 On Your Side first went to management last week, we were ignored, despite repeated requests for an interview. News Channel 8 wanted to hear the manager’s side of the story.
The situation has finally improved. On Tuesday food was delivered to the park – without hostility or threats. “Honey, you are the best. Thank you for what you’ve done. I am just so pleased. I can’t even put it into words,” resident Diane Kline told News Channel 8.
8 On Your Side reached out to lawmakers and county commissioners. We even took the fight all the way to Tallahassee. A senior advocate saw the News Channel 8 story and decided to help. “It was shocking to the point where some of us were in tears. What we learned over time, this has been an ongoing problem,” Christie Castro said.
Christie reached out to the manager at Carlyn Estates, and after many phone calls, emails and negotiations, the two had a three-hour marathon meeting. It turns out the manager wants a speedy delivery when residents get their food on Tuesdays. She claims volunteers had been sorting the food in each driveway.
It is a compromise Christie is hoping will work so that seniors can keep getting the food they desperately need. “I’m thrilled. I’m glad you guys did it because it brought to light that there was a problem. Now the advocacy council was able to step in and solve it,” she said. On Friday 28 residents will have a formal meeting with management to talk about this compromise and how to continue feeding seniors peacefully.