Frequently Asked Questions & Answers: Volunteers
Common questions and answers about volunteering with Meals On Wheels of Tampa are below. Please call the office (813) 238-8410 if you have any additional questions or comments.
What are the benefits of volunteering with Meals On Wheels of Tampa?
Volunteers make a difference every day through their smiles and care. In order to provide the best service to those we serve, we need dependable and caring people. The quality of our program and ability to expand our service to the community depends on your reliability.
Some of the most valuable benefits are intrinsic, such as:
- Help to strengthen the community
- Make a positive impact on someone’s quality of life
- Gain work and life experiences
- Model the importance of giving back to the community
- Meet new friends
- Builds self-esteem and self confidence
- Improves health
- Gives value
- Strengthens leadership skills
- Experience diversity
- Expand career opportunities
- Have fun
Volunteer placement and route assignments are based on your availability, interest and ability to meet the requirements. While our goal is to meet the needs of our mission, we strive to ensure that each volunteer’s time is well utilized and that you enjoy your time of service. We hope you honor your commitment and consider your volunteer assignment just as important as a paid position.
Listed below are our expectations:
- Complete the required application and background screening
- Attend a mandatory Volunteer Orientation
- Volunteer in a professional manner
- Report all “Not Home” meal delivery events immediately
Are there any requirements to be a volunteer at Meals On Wheels of Tampa ?
All volunteer drivers must be 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, an automobile, proof of auto insurance and agree to a background check. Those under 18 may volunteer by riding along with a guardian, parent, or friend; or by helping in the office.
How do I become a volunteer at Meals On Wheels of Tampa?
When do you offer volunteer trainings/orientations?
Volunteer Orientations are held every first and third Friday. Please make sure you have filled out a Volunteer Application before RSVP’ing for a future Volunteer Orientation date. The Volunteer Manager leads orientations and shares helpful hints about meal delivery. You will also have the option to schedule a future ride along with a veteran volunteer.
Do you have weekend volunteer opportunities?
Yes, weekend volunteer opportunities are available each month. POW! (Produce On Wheels) deliveries occur on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
I’m part of a group that wants to volunteer with Meals On Wheels of Tampa. What kinds of opportunities do you have for groups (organizations, churches, businesses, etc.)?
Can I volunteer to deliver meals on a regular basis?
Yes! Secure a route and day of the week that works best for your schedule today! Get started by filling out a Volunteer Application.
Can I volunteer to make meals or help in your kitchen?
There are no opportunities to make meals or help in the kitchen.
Do you have opportunities to help out in the office?
Yes, we are in need of office volunteers to support both long-term and one-time projects in the office. Please complete a Volunteer Application and indicate your volunteer preferences.
Do you offer Thanksgiving or Christmas Day delivery opportunities? What else do you offer for the holidays?
MOWTampa volunteers deliver special goody bags and baked treats on Thanksgiving morning. Please note that we do NOT deliver on Christmas day. A Holiday Gift Bag Drive occurs in November and December where the community comes together to collect items for the holiday gift bags. Bags are delivered on the Saturday before Christmas.
I am interested in volunteering for your special events. How do I go about doing that?
It’s easy! Please fill out a Volunteer Application and indicate your preference for volunteering.
Do you have volunteer opportunities for children and families?
Yes, volunteers may deliver with children or family. Other opportunities that are nice for group participation include POW! (Produce On Wheels), Thanksgiving Morning and Hurricane Preparedness Pack delivery days.
Is there a minimum time commitment to volunteer with Meals On Wheels of Tampa?
There is no minimum time commitment to volunteer. Though a commitment of delivering a route at least one day, every other week is encouraged.
Do you have evening volunteer opportunities?
There are no evening opportunities available.
What if there is bad weather? How do I know if I should deliver?
Our first priority during a storm is both your safety and the safety of our recipients. Please check this site http://arcg.is/1geUUfo for road closures before delivering a route in bad weather. If you are delivering during bad weather and encounter a situation where the weather and/or the potential flooding creates danger, please do not deliver the meal. We simply ask that you call the office to let us know, and then we will contact the recipient. You may give away the meal to the next recipient on the route.
Meals On Wheels of Tampa may cancel delivery if the weather is hazardous and/or there is flooding. Scheduled volunteers will receive an email if their route is canceled and staff will call to notify recipients and volunteers 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. Be safe, use your best judgement, and please communicate anything unusual on any given day with our office. Together we will do our best to make sure our volunteers and homebound are safe all year long.
While our recipients depend on the daily meals delivered, each of our recipients receive a Hurricane Preparedness Pack, which includes five shelf stable meals, at the end of May in preparation for Hurricane Season. These packs are shelf stable and are to be held in reserve should meal delivery have to be canceled due to inclement weather.
I have an educational or service requirement to fulfill (for school, a club, an association, etc.). Can I earn service hours by volunteering with Meals On Wheels of Tampa?
We cannot guarantee that we can fulfill your volunteer hours requirement. However, if you reach us with plenty of notice, we will do our best to find you a meaningful volunteer experience that will mutually benefit MOWTampa.
I need hours for court ordered community service.
Please come to the Meals On Wheels of Tampa kitchen (550 W. Hillsborough Ave.) Monday-Friday, between 12:00-2:00pm, with your paperwork, and ask for Tony. Please do not fill out a volunteer application if you need hours for court ordered community service.
I want to volunteer but I don’t have a car. What can I do?
Volunteer opportunities that don’t require a car, include office support, reception duties, making cards, etc. Please fill out a Volunteer Application.
I live outside of Tampa. Do you have opportunities elsewhere in the Bay Area?
MOWTampa is a local, independent organization that serves Greater Tampa. We don’t offer volunteer opportunities outside of our service boundaries. There are 5,000 Meals On Wheels agencies across the country. Please check www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org and contact your local agency for opportunities in your community.