Meals On Wheels of Tampa to participate in Subaru’s “Share the Love” campaign

Meals On Wheels of Tampa will be participating in The 2018 Subaru Share the Love® Event as a member of Meals on Wheels America, one of four national Share the Love charitable partners supported through the promotion. From Nov. 15 through Jan. 2, 2019, Subaru of America will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charities.

“We are so excited for this partnership with Subaru! Meals on Wheels of Tampa does not accept federal funds, so campaigns like these are vital to the success and growth of our agency, allowing us to be able to feed more seniors and homebound in Tampa. Meals On Wheels delivers much more than a meal, for so many it’s about independence and social connection also.  As the homebound population increases, the need for programs like ours will continue to grow,” said Shana Taylor-Page, Director of Programs & Partners.

Participating Meals on Wheels America members, like Meals On Wheels of Tampa, will receive a share of the donation raised by Subaru in their state.

“Meals on Wheels America is thrilled to partner with Subaru of America for the Subaru Share the Love Event for the eleventh year in a row,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “Since 2008, the Subaru Share the Love Event has helped local Meals on Wheels programs deliver nearly 2 million meals to vulnerable seniors nationwide. We remain proud and grateful to have the generous support of Subaru in helping us ensure that homebound seniors receive the daily nutrition and companionship they need to thrive.”

Over the last 10 years, Subaru of America and its participating retailers have donated more than $118 million to its charity partners. This year’s Subaru Share the Love Event is on track to bring that total to over $140 million, proving there’s no limit to the amount of love we can all share.

By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Subaru Share the Love® Event and selecting Meals On Wheels as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other important services to seniors here in Tampa.

Adopt-a-Route champions for 2018, TECO proudly brings people power to help Meals On Wheels of Tampa serve those in need

Earlier this year, we told you how TECO team members love volunteering to help Meals On Wheels deliver much-needed food to elderly or disabled residents in the community – seeing this effort as a sort of scavenger hunt for the soul. And along the way to helping ensure people simply have the basic necessity of food on their tables, we found something else: the nonprofit’s2018 Adopt-a-Route Partner of the Year Award.

“It was an honor to present TECO with the 2018 ‘Adopt-A-Route of the Year’ Award at our Volunteer Appreciation Banquet earlier this month!” said Steve King, executive director with Meals On Wheels Tampa. “TECO has been a wonderful partner in our mission at Meals On Wheels of Tampa – and their kindness, dedication and commitment serve as a model for all businesses and organizations in terms of what it means to truly give back to the community.”

TECO’s award-winning volunteers are, in front from left to right: Wendy Bradley, Sarah Djak, Kim Pfeifer- Smith, Cathy Pettway and Lisa Grant; in back are Stacy Hallman, Adam Djak, Denise Ramseyer, Katy Patrick and Marshall Tucker. (Not pictured: Jeff Butts, Connie Coe and Maria Hoffman)

He added, “Most importantly, the TECO Adopt-A-Route makes a significant difference in the lives of the homebound and seniors served everyday by Meals On Wheels! Thank you, TECO, for your example and congratulations on being named the Meals on Wheels ‘Adopt-A-Route of the Year’ partner!”

Marshall Tucker, manager of Corporate Business Development at TECO and a Meals On Wheels Tampa board member, said it’s been no surprise – but heartening nonetheless – to see TECO team members stepping up to help those in need.

“Being a TECO team member is about more than bringing safe, reliable electricity and natural gas to the community – and yet like those foundational needs, basic food security can be easy to take for granted,” he said. “But our work with Meals On Wheels speaks to a special connection we have with the communities we serve because we live here too, in some cases with elderly parents, and it’s too easy to imagine people we love facing the fear of not knowing how they’ll get their next meal.”

As America gets older and needs among its elderly population rise, programs like Meals On Wheels are more important than ever – and sadly, struggling to get to everyone who needs help. That’s where people like you can join TECO’s volunteers in this effort. The commitment is small compared to the lifeline you provide for someone who may live in your own neighborhood. (You just might have a lot of fun exploring the community too while receiving smiles and gratitude in return!)

page2image1803616

Adopt-a-Route champions for 2018, TECO proudly brings people power to help Meals On Wheels of Tampa serve those in need – Tampa Electric Blog

Meanwhile, TECO is committed to doing our part to strengthening the communities we serve. This goes beyond the great customer service, safety and reliability we strive to offer. It goes beyond some of the lowest rates for power in Florida, and programs to help you save in numerous ways. It includes compassion for those in need, and for making a difference to the tune of nearly 30,000 hours we donate in the community annually.

It includes our people out there on days like today, donating time to Meals On Wheels. You won’t see these TECO team members wearing hard hats or driving line trucks. You may not notice them at all. But for people who need food, these volunteers – and all those like them at Meals On Wheels – are among those they long to see more than anyone else in the world.

What volunteering can do for you!

Written by: Ericka Leigh

We know why volunteering is good for the people we serve – it’s a nice thing to do; we’re able to help those less fortunate or in a difficult position; we’re able to share ourselves and our talents, and you feel good. But there’s actually so much more that volunteering can offer you aside from the warm fuzzies. Volunteering connects you to others in the community, as well as brings fulfillment to your life. And volunteering is good for the body and the mind.

Some of the social benefits of volunteering

In addition to connecting you to the community, volunteering can be a great place to make new friends (particularly if people are new to an area) or strengthen existing relationships if you volunteer together. As you connect with the community more, your network broadens and you may discover previously unknown neighborhood resources. Volunteering can also be a great family activity and an invaluable teaching opportunity. You may even discover some resources, community organizations, or upcoming events for your children.

Mental and physical benefits of volunteering

Volunteering is one of those feel good activities. When you do good for someone else, you cannot help but feel good about yourself. According to a study by the www.HelpGuide.org, “Volunteering makes you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Humans are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.” Volunteering also has the ability to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, and anger. As you volunteer more and increase your skills set, you increase your self-confidence. As a volunteer, you can oftentimes see the fruits of your labor immediately, which provides a sense of accomplishment and pride. Whatever may be happening in life at the moment, volunteering can provide an outlet to get your mind off things while remaining productive and take you out of your problems for a while, and possibly better equipped to handle them at a later point in time.

“Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off of worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life,” (www.HelpGuide.org).

Volunteers come from all walks of life. Research suggests “those who engage in volunteer activities are less likely to suffer from ill health later in life and may be introduced into a positive reinforcing cycle of good health and future volunteering.”  It also keeps you healthy (most likely from the stress reducing effects), and studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. For some folks heading into retirement, volunteering can offer a sense of purpose. Additionally, older volunteers tend to be more active, thereby finding it easier to manage everyday tasks and experience fewer symptoms of chronic pain and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Fun and Fulfillment to your life

If you’re interested in something and want to learn more, volunteering provides a wonderful opportunity to explore those interests and passions. Volunteering is a great way to break up the day-to-day routine of work, family, school, etc. Volunteering also has the power to renew one’s creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into personal and professional life. With so many volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas and fields, volunteering provides people outlets to fulfill their hobbies, as well.

Meals On Wheels of Tampa often sets up ride alongs for potential volunteers to allow them to experience what delivering meals feels like before they commit to delivering a route.  Call (813) 238-8410 to set up a “free-trial.”

 

Geoff : hospitality as a way of life

Written by: Ericka Leigh

His job description may include hospitality, but for longtime volunteer Geoff, it is also a way of life. He embodies the spirit of hospitality and his recipients know it.

Geoff has been a MOW volunteer since 2015, and has delivered the same route the entire time. He delivers every Monday and often on Fridays. Since he started volunteering, he’s taken two breaks, but has returned for the community. He’s delivered in the same area of northeast Tampa including Ybor City and Port Tampa the whole time and was pleased to see so many familiar faces when he came back each time.

“I’ve become friends with some of the recipients to the point of going to their house on my days off and having an afternoon coffee. [My recipient] only speaks Spanish and mine isn’t that great so it’s also been an opportunity for me to practice.”

 As Geoff delivers meals, he spends a few moments catching up with each recipient. He spends more time with some recipients than others, especially if they need help finding or fixing something. “Last week, I helped Carolyn find her phone. It had fallen under the couch. She told me she could hear it ringing for two days but could not get to it. So when I delivered her meal again a few days later, she asked me if I could help her locate it. That also showed me I was probably the only person she spoke to that day.”

When asked how Geoff fits volunteering in his busy schedule, especially since he took a hiatus, he replied, “I just do. Certain things take priority and you make time for it. Working in hospitality helps some with flexibility, too; but I like doing this and its important to me.”

Working in hospitality, Geoff knows a thing or two about food. “I work with food and I know food insecurity is an issue. I like volunteering with MOW because we address food insecurity. The other side of food insecurity is that even if someone does have the means to afford food, they don’t always have the means of acquiring food, which is the homebound part of the mission, and I’m able to provide that for them.”

Geoff said volunteering has helped him adjust his perception of things and events. He said his favorite element was the community aspect. “Even when my recipient isn’t home, usually a neighbor is and I get to know more than just one or two people per neighborhood. I’ve actually seen my recipient’s neighbor out and about, which was cool. I enjoy getting to know more of my community members.” Geoff appreciates multiple community aspects. I asked him why he chose MOW to donate his time to, and he said, “I can’t think of another effort that so directly affects the community. You can donate money to organizations, but you don’t always see the effects of that donation. I see where that money goes as a volunteer. Additionally, you can see the immediate impact of your time. You’re feeding someone. And this MOW stays local, I know its funded by the community for the community and I like the local impact it has.”

We deliver to one of the last recipients on the route and Geoff notices her front gate could use some minor repairs. He asks her if she knows anyone who could fix it. She said no, and he replied, “So if I show up one day with some tools to help you, will you be here?” She nodded. Geoff, once again, showcasing our volunteers’ deliver more than a meal and emphasizing the value of community.