Drive? Have a heart? Meals on Wheels St. Petersburg needs you

Volunteers, start those engines: Meals on Wheels St. Petersburg (MOWSP) needs you. A community-supported program for Seniors and homebound individuals ages 18+, MOWSP is a newly launched alternative to other Meals on Wheels programs. It aims to help those who do not qualify for assistance due to age as well as those on waiting lists. 

Hunger doesn’t have a waiting list; the need is immediate to fill the hunger gap in Pinellas County. A Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger program in partnership with Meals on Wheels of Tampa and Daystar Life Center, MOWSP features a hot meal delivered by a volunteer every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s a care trifecta that does more than nourish the body: it feeds the soul as well.

“I no longer worry much about how or when I will get to the grocery store or struggle to prepare and cook my meals every day,” says Ms. Rose, MOWSP recipient. “Since I live alone, this means so much ….and I enjoy the volunteers, who are so kind to me.”

MOWSP doesn’t accept government grants or funds, so the organization is able to offer immediate assistance to those in need. The fresh, nutritious meals are prepared by partner Meals on Wheels of Tampa. Expanding routes is made possible by the drivers, whose precious cargo is a hot meal that contains 1/3 of the minimum daily nutritional requirements for Seniors. 

“Our staff is doing everything in our power, including delivering the meals ourselves, until we get a volunteer base strong enough to sustain the growth of this much-needed program,” says Lauren Vance, communications manager of Network to End Hunger.

Future plans include expanding the service area to ensure every zip code has both government-funded and privately funded Meals on Wheels programs. MOWSP currently serves the following zip codes: 33701, 33705, 33707, 33711, 33712, and 33713. 

“We would like to make sure every senior and homebound individual in need of a hot, healthy meal receives one,” Vance says. 

MOWSP is looking for volunteer drivers to deliver meals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Routes take about one hour to complete. Those interested should complete the online volunteer application.
Can you benefit from this program? Do you know someone who can? Call Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger at 813-344-5837 or submit an application at Network to End Hunger.

Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida
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