Meals on Wheels of America operates in just about every community across the country with over 5,000 independently run programs. Meals On Wheels of Tampa (MOWTampa) is proud to be one of them and proud to serve the Tampa community for 43 years.
Two things that set MOWTampa apart from most of the others are our funding source and our commercial kitchen. Of the 5,000 Meals On Wheels operations nationally, 80% are government funded through different programs such as the Older Americans Act, Department of Health and Human Services, Department for the Aging, etc. Approximately 20% are privately funded. MOWTampa falls under that 20%.
Our funding comes from various community partners, grants and individual donors through a sustainer program, as well as one-time donations. Being privately funded allows us to have a wider reach in the community with the recipients we serve. It actually enables us to serve almost everyone who reaches out to us. While most of our recipients are elderly, we deliver meals to those who are homebound for any number of reasons due to illness, injury, disability, and/or age. Our youngest recipient is 22 and our oldest is 101.
Another fact that separates MOWTampa from other Meals On Wheels is our commercial kitchen. We prepare over 800 meals daily for our recipients. All meals are prepared fresh on site, sealed, and packaged for delivery from our kitchen.
Serving the Tampa community gives us great joy, as Florida is a hub for senior citizens. Knowing that one in six seniors are food insecure makes our work that much more important.
In addition to being funded by the community, MOWTampa’s meals are also delivered by the community. We depend on the help of volunteers to carry our mission of nourishing, enriching, and strengthening the community, as they are the ones delivering the meals each day. It’s so much more than a meal, however. It also gives our volunteers an opportunity to check in on their neighbors, encourage inter-generational connectivity, and an opportunity to make a friend.