On the third Saturday of the month over 100 community volunteers, businesses and groups will participate in Meals On Wheels of Tampa's Produce On Wheels (POW!) program. This program, partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay, will help increase senior and homebound access to fresh produce.
Dedicated volunteers will give their time, vehicle, and gas to deliver free, pre-packed bags of fresh fruits and vegetables to 700 home delivered meal recipients (HDM) on Saturday morning. Special thanks to the employees of Melting Pot (a Front Burner Brand), Bank of America, HDR Engineering, Inc., Kforce Inc., Mezrah Consulting, and Moffitt Cancer Center for helping to load cars and deliver routes on this day.
There are still 6 routes available for volunteers to sign up to deliver on Saturday. Please visit www.MOWTampa.org/programs/pow
to select a route, or explore other ways to help.
This month's free bag of produce will include: an orange, a pear, an apple, kale, chard, cherry tomatoes, a sweet potato, some salad dressing, and additional items donated by Feeding Tampa Bay.
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, and others. Their generous contributions have enhanced this month?s delivery.
This monthly event is very exciting for Meals On Wheels of Tampa to further their mission of nourishing, enriching, and strengthening 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.
"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 openings for those unavailable to deliver meals during the week.
Recipients also receive 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 assisting in the evaluation of the program to continue to improve its impact on senior nutrition.
Professors and graduate students from USF's College of Public Health assisted the Meals On Wheels of Tampa staff in evaluating the effectiveness of POW! on Tampa?s homebound citizens. Pre-test, post-test, and process evaluation surveys were completed during 2016. These tests revealed recipients were consuming an additional serving of fresh fruit and half a serving of vegetables each day. This data was recently published in the Florida Public Health Review Journal for other programs to learn from all over the world. In order to keep increasing the impact of POW! on recipients, Meals On Wheels of Tampa is currently looking for funding to expand the program to daily deliveries.
Future POW! delivery dates are Saturday, July 15th, August 19th, September 16th, and October 21st. 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.