Florence Westmaas, 91, takes the bus to volunteer at Lake Cares Food Pantry, where she has greeted clients since October 2009.
“I have never owned or driven a car”. She has taken the bus no matter where she has lived in New Jersey or Florida and has always walked in her native country of Guyana which was formally known as Guiana.
She came to New Jersey in 1963 and worked as a nurse’s aid. She was so relieved to land a job. “I was rich” she said. “I made $1.20 an hour”. In 1983 she came to Mount Dora and has been a blessing to so many different organizations. Her main job at Lake Cares is greeting the clients as they come in to complete their food stamp applications. While the clients wait for an interviewer to help them, Florence has them double bag plastic bags for the pantry to use on their distribution day. “I do whatever needs to be done” she said. “I like to work”.
Florence keeps busy in her yard, which includes Confederate Jasmine, Sago Palms, Bromeliads and many types of Lilies and Ferns. “I have the most beautiful yard on the whole street and I love my yard”. She cooks, takes vitamins and walks at least once a day but many times twice a day. Irene O’Malley, executive director of the pantry said “She is an amazing woman, nothing slows her down”.
She has 2 children and grandchildren, who live in Texas. She has lived longer her mother and father, who both died at the early ages of 53 and 63. “Every day is a miracle. I’m 91 and feeling like 19. Every day I do something”.