“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
At Meals On Wheels of Tampa, we couldn’t agree more, which is why our kitchen team starts their day at 5am. As the sun starts to peek out turning the dark into dawn, our kitchen can be found turning chicken and vegetables into full meals made with love and care.
Every morning, our 13-person kitchen team is busy cutting produce, portioning protein servings, and sealing the trays of food that will soon be in the hands of over 800 of Tampa’s homebound seniors and neighbors. Yes, you read that right. Our kitchen team makes over 800 hot meals every morning that are eaten that afternoon. That’s a lot of work before the sun comes out!
The kitchen is about as large as the office, which if you’ve ever been to our office, you know is not very big. “I’ve worked in small bakeries with larger kitchens and I’m always impressed with the quantity and quality of food our small kitchen is able to produce,” said Ericka Leigh, MOW volunteer and staff driver.
Meal prep is often done the day before but always cooked fresh the day of. Our homebound recipients receive one of these fresh hot cooked meals every weekday and two frozen meals for the weekend. We order food the same way a restaurant would; we have partnerships with national and local suppliers that deliver ingredients almost daily o our kitchen.
The fact that we cook our meals on site is also one of the things that make our particular Meals On Wheels very special. There are 5,000 Meals On Wheels throughout the country and only 20% of them cook their meals on location.
In addition to the hot meal, we also send out a side item every day, which ranges from pudding, fresh fruit, or Jell-O to egg salad, tuna salad and soup. We try to ensure a well-balanced meal because we know that when the body is fed, the mind can be at ease and we can take on the world.