Home Delivered Meal Service Q&A
What is in a “Meals On Wheels” meal?
The hot, nutritious, low-sodium meals each contain 1/3 of the minimum daily nutritional requirements for senior adults.
Each meal includes the following:
- 1 serving of a lean protein (beef, chicken, pork, or fish)
- 1-2 servings of starch (potato, pasta, or rice)
- 1-2 servings of vegetables
- 1 dessert (pudding or fruit)
Additionally, each meal contains at least 600 calories and less than 800 mg of sodium.
How are the meals prepared?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa prepares and packages its meals fresh, daily out of the commercial kitchen. Meals are delivered in a recyclable container that can be warmed in the microwave or heated on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven. A 30-day rotating menu insures variety. Note: Each day’s menu is prepared, packaged, and delivered under strict food safety guidelines to minimize the risk of contamination. The meals are cooked the same day they are delivered to our clients.
Who is eligible to receive a Meals on Wheels meal?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa is a private, non-profit organization that is committed to the mission of “nourishing and enriching the independent lives of the homebound and seniors.” The services of Meals On Wheels of Tampa are available to any resident in our area of service who is a senior or who is homebound as the result of age, disability, or illness. Most recipients live alone and are handicapped, malnourished, elderly, or otherwise unable to prepare food for themselves. People of ALL incomes and ages may be eligible for meals. Meals On Wheels does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, gender, disability, or national origin.
Do I live in the Meals On Wheels of Tampa service area?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa serves people who live in the following zip codes: 33548, 33549, 33556, 33558, 33559, 33602, 33603, 33604, 33605, 33606, 33607, 33609, 33610, 33611, 33612, 33613, 33614, 33615, 33616, 33617, 33618, 33619, 33624, 33625, 33626, 33629, 33634, 33635, 33637, 33647.
How much does the service cost?
Meals are charged on a sliding scale depending on an individual’s monthly income. The highest priced meal is $4.75 each. Invoices are sent to the recipient (or designated payee) at the end of each month. Payment may be mailed to 550 W. Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33603 or made online by clicking here.
How and when do you bill for meal service?
You will receive your billing statement the first week of the month to be paid by the 15th of the month to continue service.
How can I receive a “Meals on Wheels” meal?
If you think you may be eligible to receive Meals On Wheels, or know someone who may benefit from this service, then please submit a Meal Service Application (Solicitud Para Servicio de Comidas) or call (813) 238-8410. Our Recipient Intake Coordinator will contact you within 5 business days to complete the application process. This process will take approximately 15 minutes. Our staff will request information such as name, address, phone number, health status, etc. We will also ask you to provide the name and phone number of a family member or friend whom we can contact if there is an emergency or we do not find you at home.
Is there a waiting list?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa does not have a waiting list and makes every attempt to bring anyone on the program who needs the services.
When are the meals delivered?
Meals are delivered Monday through Friday, between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Please be ready to accept your meal during this time. Sometimes meal delivery may run late due to unforeseen circumstances. Please be mindful that volunteers use their own vehicle, gas, and time to deliver your lunchtime meal. You must be home to receive a meal, unless you have arranged with the office prior for the meal to be left with a neighbor. Frozen meals for the weekends are delivered on Fridays.
Note: It is very important that clients be at home when meals are delivered. If a client expects to be away during their normal delivery time for any reason, they must notify the Meals On Wheels office the day before by calling (813)238-8410 before 12:00 p.m. If not, you will be charged.
Who delivers the meals?
The meals are delivered by trained, background checked volunteers who are the heart and soul of the program, and whose warm, human touch means so much to our clients. Please be mindful that volunteers use their own vehicle, gas, and time to deliver your lunchtime meal. Without their selfless dedication, we could not serve the meals we provide each weekday in this community. We are constantly looking for additional volunteers to deliver meals. If you think you’d like to volunteer, even for just one day per month, please click here to learn more about volunteering with Meals On Wheels of Tampa. These dedicated individuals make it possible for us to deliver over 700 meals each weekday in Tampa.
How many meals does Meals On Wheels of Tampa deliver each day?
We currently deliver 700 nutritious meals each weekday—over 250,000 meals a year. The number of referrals we are receiving has increased each year, and we need your support to continue to meet the needs of Tampa’s growing elderly population. Each donation we receive helps to deliver a nutritious meal, a friendly visit and a safety check to seniors and homebound in this community. To learn how you can help, please click here.
Why do you ask for an emergency contact?
When applying for meals you will be asked to provide the office with an emergency contact. This information is used if we come to deliver and you do not answer the door. This way all concerned will know that the client is safe and accounted for.
What is a wellness check?
We are more than a meal. Our volunteers are trained to report any concerns to the office. When our volunteers come to deliver they will ring the bell or knock loudly. If they do not get an answer they will call the office to let us know that they have not seen you. The office will then try to call you and then your emergency contact. If we are unsuccessful at reaching you or an emergency contact, we will call the police to do a wellness check. If signs lead to a possibility that you could be inside and injured or ill, the police will enter your home.
If the volunteer arrives and there is a reason to call 911, they will do so and then call the office, who will notify one of your emergency contacts. We will ONLY share your personal contact information with Emergency Personnel if they need to assist you.
To avoid any concerns, please make sure that your client information is up to date, we have good emergency contact numbers.
I have difficulty carrying things. Can the driver bring my meals inside?
Yes, the driver can bring your meal into your home and set it up on the table or put it into the refrigerator, whatever is more helpful to you.
What if I don't make it to the door in time to get my meal?
If you do not answer your door at delivery, we will not be able to redeliver at a later time. Health code regulations prohibit us from leaving meals unattended outside your home, or in a cooler, under any circumstances.
If a driver reports that there is no answer at your home, a wellness check will be performed; this includes calls to you and your emergency contact. You will also be charged for that prepared meal.
If I am not home, can the driver leave the meal by my door?
No, volunteers cannot leave meals by the door, on the front porch, or in a cooler outside under any circumstances. If you are not there to receive your meal and have not notified us, we will try to find you by contacting the emergency contact that you gave us upon starting the service. We also do not want to risk food-borne illness by leaving the meals out without knowing when they will be refrigerated or consumed. If you call the office before 12 p.m. the day before, we can arrange to leave the food with a neighbor if you are not going to be home. If not, you will be charged.
Can I suspend service for a couple of days without being canceled from the program? What if I am hospitalized? What if I go out of town?
Yes. If you call the office before 12 p.m. the day before the cancellation, we can accommodate your needs. A person can suspend service for up to 30 days without being canceled from the program. When you want to resume service, you must call us the day before 12 p.m.
Do I have to take meal service every day? What if I have an appointment and will not be home at delivery time?
You may receive meals as few as 3 days a week. If you will not be home at delivery time, please call by 12 p.m. the day before, to cancel meal service for that day. Volunteers are instructed not to leave meals unattended.
How do I restart my meal service?
To re-start meal delivery, please call the office (813) 238-8410 no later than 12 pm the day before and ask a staff member to resume your service.
Is the Meals On Wheels service available for a short period of time?
Yes. We ask that you agree to have the meals for at least two weeks. After that, there is no specific cut-off time when meal delivery needs to stop.
How many meals are available?
One hot meal is available each weekday. The hot meal is intended for noontime use. It includes protein, vegetable, starch, and a side fruit or dessert. Frozen weekend meals are available and consist of a frozen meal and a side fruit or dessert. (These meals are delivered on Friday with Friday hot meals.)
Can Meals On Wheels of Tampa help with special diets?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa cannot accommodate special diets at this time.
What if there are particular foods on the menu I won't eat?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa cannot accommodate food preferences at this time. If you call the day before, we can notify you of the meal schedule and you may cancel your meal for that day if you prefer. Please try and have extra food on hand to use if you receive something you do not like.
How do I get meals on holidays or in bad winter weather?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa is closed New Year Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day (Thursday& Friday) and Christmas Day. Meals for holiday are delivered prior to the holiday. Hurricane Preparedness Packs are delivered at the end of May. These packs are shelf stable and are to be held in reserve should meal delivery have to be canceled due to inclement weather. Meals On Wheels of Tampa may cancel delivery if the weather is hazardous. Staff will call to notify recipients if service is canceled for that day. Local radio and TV stations may also announce closings- listen for “Meals On Wheels of Tampa” – not to be confused with the County program, Hillsborough County Aging Services).
How do I heat my weekend frozen meal?
Frozen Meal Heating Instructions
- Microwave: Slit to vent. Heat 3-5 minutes on high.
- Oven: Slit to vent. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place meal on cookie sheet. Heat for 30 minutes or until 165 degrees.
DO NOT USE TOASTER OVEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES
What was in the recipient newsletter this month?
We are sorry to have missed you this past month. Please view recipient newsletter PDF’s in english and spanish here.
Are there any extra services that are included with my meal service?
There are many Meals On Wheels programs that benefit our program recipients. The following summary list of programs are free of charge to our recipients, more details are available under the ‘programs’ tab in the menu bar above.
- Birthday card and cake (delivered on recipients birthday with daily meal delivery)
- POW! (Produce On Wheels) (every third Saturday of the month, except May, November, and December)
- Hurricane Preparedness Pack Program (Saturday, May 21)
- Thanksgiving Visit (Thursday, November 24)
- Holiday Gift Bag (Saturday, December 17)
Where is your office? When are you open?
Meals On Wheels of Tampa is located at 550 W. Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33603. If you have any other questions or want to start meal delivery please call the office at (813) 238-8410 or by completing a Meal Service Application by clicking here. Office hours are 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. The office is closed on all federal holidays.