On Saturday, January 20th, 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 over 700 home delivered meal (HDM) recipients on Saturday morning.

Tampa, FL, January 14, 2018 — On Saturday, January 20th, 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 over 700 home delivered meal (HDM) recipients on Saturday morning.

Future Saturday POW! deliveries will be on February 17th, March 17th and April 21st. Please visit www.MOWTampa.org or call (813) 238-8410 to sign up to deliver a Produce On Wheels route, see more dates, or explore other ways to help the mission of Meals On Wheels of Tampa. Families, children and even dogs are encouraged to deliver together.

Each month’s free bag of produce typically includes: oranges, lemons, romaine lettuce, carrots and salad dressing.

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, Publix, Save a Lot 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 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.

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.

Media: If you would like to follow a volunteer on their route to get footage of seniors accepting bag at their front door, please call Shana (813) 238-8410. Best time for Media Coverage: 9:30 AM -10:30 AM at Meals On Wheels of Tampa office, 550 W. Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33603 then you can leave with a volunteer in your car and follow along to a few homes.

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