TAMPA, FL, (June 18) – On Saturday, June 18, over 100 community volunteers, businesses and groups participated in Meals On Wheels of Tampa’s Produce On Wheels (POW) program, in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, to increase senior and homebound access to fresh produce. Dedicated volunteers gave their time, vehicle, and gas to deliver pre-packed bags of fresh produce to 700 home delivered meal recipients (HDM). Produce bags are free of charge to HDM recipients.
Specifically this month Meals On Wheels of Tampa would like to acknowledge their new partners: Sanwa Farmer’s Market and Sweetwater Organic Community Farm. Their generous contributions enhanced this month’s delivery.
Groups that helped to deliver produce on Saturday morning included the USF College of Public Health, USAA, Suncoast Credit Union, and Humana. In response to this program, Meals On Wheels of Tampa has developed partnerships with the following groups: Sweetwater Organic Community Farm, Sanwa Farmer’s Market, Feeding Tampa Bay, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, University of Florida Extension Office, Next Stop Produce, and others.
This monthly event is very exciting for Meals On Wheels of Tampa whose mission is to nourish, enrich, and strengthen the independent lives of the homebound and seniors in Tampa. POW was developed in response to results collected from a survey that was sent out to all 700 HDM recipients last year.
“Thank you so much for the bag of fresh produce! This is such a blessing because I can no longer shop for fresh food. Many thanks to all who helped with this program, it is wonderful! Especially the volunteers who came to see me on a Saturday-what a treat!” said Delores, HDM recipient on the Meals On Wheels of Tampa program.
In addition to increasing access to produce, this opportunity has increased volunteer opportunities for those who may not be available to deliver meals during the week.
Recipients also received an educational handout that highlights the nutritional advantages of the items in the bag, tips to reduce waste, recipe ideas, and produce safety. Feedback was recently collected from recipients and volunteers to assist in the evaluation of the program to continue to improve its impact on senior nutrition. Professor Lauri Wright from the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health assisted Meals On Wheels of Tampa staff in evaluating the effectiveness of the POW program on Tampa’s seniors and homebound. Pre-test, Post-test, and Process evaluation surveys have been completed and revealed an increase consumption and access of fruits and veggies.
Future POW/Saturday delivery dates are: July 16, August 20, and September 17. Meals On Wheels of Tampa hopes to expand the program later this year.
Interested in delivering POW!? Sign up by visiting www.MOWTampa.org/programs/pow
or call (813) 238-8410.
About Meals On Wheels of Tampa:
Meals On Wheels of Tampa has been committed to nourishing and enriching the independent lives of the homebound and seniors of Tampa since 1975. Today, Meals On Wheels of Tampa serves over 700 people with a hot meal during the lunch hour. Meals On Wheels of Tampa is a 4-star charity and relies on its community for support by not accepting government funding.
If you would like to start receiving meals or if you know someone in need, please visit www.MOWTampa.org or call (813) 238-8410 today. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mealsonwheelsoftampa/ to stay up to date with the latest news and happenings at Meals On Wheels of Tampa
Contact person: Lauren M. Vance, MPH
Organization: Meals On Wheels of Tampa