By Kathy L. Collins
The mission of Meals on Wheels of Tampa (MOW Tampa) is to nourish and enrich the seniors and homebound of Tampa and strengthen the community. In response to a growing need, MOW Tampa has expanded into the Palm River and Progress Village areas. As a result, MOW Tampa is in need of volunteers to help serve the three current routes.
In explaining why the expansion was made, Steve King, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Tampa, said, “The hardest phone calls we receive are the ones from people who need food, but are not in our service area. We don’t like turning anyone away, but resources limit us from reaching those outside of our boundaries.”
MOW Tampa was able to make the expansion thanks to a grant from Allegany Franciscan Ministries and Bank of America.
MOW Tampa provides hot, nutritious meals Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. On Fridays, clients receive frozen meals for the weekend. Lauren Vance, director of communications for MOW Tampa, said, “For many of the homebound, a visit from a volunteer is the only human contact they will receive that day. This also allows for a ‘safety’ check-in, which brings much comfort to those they serve and their families.”
Volunteers pick up the meals from a designated site within the community. After making the deliveries, the coolers and heat packs are returned to the pick up site. A route typically takes a driver one hour to complete.
Volunteers are provided with a route sheet, which includes specific directions to the recipient’s home. Based on a volunteer’s desire and schedule, they may deliver a route twice a month or as often as once a week. Drivers must be 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, auto insurance and agree to a back ground screening.
MOW Tampa follows a 30 day calendar to ensure that something different is served every day for the entire month. The cost of meal service is determined on a case by case basis, with a maximum cost of $4.75 per meal. MOW Tampa works with each recipient to determine a price they can afford.
Individuals interested in volunteering or know someone in need of home delivered meals can call 238-8410 or visit www.mowtampa.org.