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.

Volunteer story: How Meals On Wheels changed my life…

          For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for helping others and a soft spot for the less fortunate, or people going through difficult times. Regardless of recognition, I have always felt an overwhelming reward while helping someone else. That “feel good” sensation has driven me to continue helping people in my community. I want to tell you my story about how I became committed to the mission of Meals On Wheels of Tampa.

          I never “had time” to volunteer, as it would take away from what I really wanted to do. Between going to the beach, having an active social life, and sleeping in, my time just wasn’t negotiable. With school and work taking up a good portion of my time, I felt like I hardly had time for myself. Years passed and I was in a cycle of doing what I felt like was more than most. I gave spare change to the homeless and supported my friends and their dreams; I felt good.

Ana-Karina Guerra delivering to a recipient.

          At a point something changed. I’m not sure what it was, but it changed and I became different. I was so tired of constantly seeing social media posts about people in need and the lack of sensitivity coming from my peers. It seemed as if all anyone was doing, including myself, was hitting the share button, like no one was actually doing anything to make a real difference. So, I decided to look within myself to become more aware of what was important to me, and what made me happy.

          It’s funny how the universe places opportunities in your path when you commit to a new way of thinking. One day I came across Meals On Wheels of Tampa (MOWTampa). Their mission spoke volumes to me. MOWTampa is committed to nourishing and enriching the independent lives of the homebound and seniors. It correlated with what I was trying to accomplish. The organization provides hope, support, companionship, care, patience, and love to our communities elderly and homebound. MOWTampa’s involvement within the senior community is substantial! Did you know 1 in every 6 seniors experience hunger, and 1 in 5 experience loneliness? For many recipients, the visit from a volunteer is the only human contact they’ll experience in a day. Since 1975, MOWTampa has been strengthening the community by caring for a segment of our population that is often forgotten, the aging and disabled. This privately funded non-profit, which accepts to governmental funds, prepares its own food and relies on help from volunteers to deliver approximately 700 meals to our homebound neighbors each day. Once I learned this, I knew I wanted to get involved.

          I chose to join the team as a volunteer for their Produce On Wheels (POW!) program. On the third Saturday of every month, volunteers deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to recipients. I delivered my first MOWTampa route, about a year ago, and had an absolute blast! Everyone I came into contact with that day was so grateful for the special delivery. It felt amazing to see the smiles that greeted me as I approached each door. Since my first delivery, I have continuously signed up to deliver more routes, and I’m constantly looking forward to volunteering with MOWTampa! When I first began volunteering with MOWTampa, I thought because I worked two jobs that POW! would be my only volunteer option; however, that is not the case! MOWTampa offers numerous volunteer opportunities that fit all schedules, and offers many ways to donate your time and talents.

          I am super excited to have the opportunity to be a virtual volunteer. This allows me to spread the mission of MOWTampa across the community. I want to inspire my generation to look around and actually participate in volunteer work that will progress our society, and MOWTampa has helped me do this. I am able to meet people of all backgrounds, and learn more about them with each visit. If you like to be active on social media join me, and the rest of the virtual volunteers, to help spread the word of what’s going on in our own backyard. Do you like meeting new people? Create a volunteer account by visiting www.MOWTampa.org and help deliver a meal to someone who genuinely needs it. Maybe you love animals. Well, they even partner with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay to deliver pet food for those who may not be able to afford pet food or get to the store to buy it, this program is called Animeals. Don’t want to commit just yet? Join their Chef, staff and other community members interested in learning more for a Nourish At Noon community lunch from 12-1pm twice a month, RSVP at www.MOWTampa.org/home/events/nan. You can also follow them on social media on Facebook or Instagram, they post great updates each day!

          I challenge you to help our neighbors however you can. Humble yourself and open your heart to others who need a helping hand right here in Tampa.

 

Visit www.MOWTampa.org to learn more or for other ways to give back to Meals On Wheels.