Meals on Wheels of Tampa needs volunteers

Posted at 9:24 AM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 09:24:12-05

There are hundreds of people in Tampa who only see one person every day: their Meals on Wheels of Tampa volunteer. But going into the new year, the program is facing a serious strain on resources.

Each week, volunteer Veronica Alfaro runs the same route with her car packed full of fresh food.

"Just knowing that you're helping keep someone fed, that they're not going to go hungry, it's a pretty incredible feeling," Alfaro said driving up to her first stop.

She always loves pulling into the driveway of Alma Stilley, 89, who's lived in this home in Seminole Heights for fifty years. Alfaro's visits aren't just about delivering a healthy meal of chicken and vegetables.

"It brightens my day, and we get to talking, and if you have any problems, thank God I don't, you forget them if you have somebody to talk to," Stilley said.

"I think having somebody just have a visit is an improvement on the quality of life for someone," Alfaro said.

But now, they need more volunteers to cover open routes.

"We are in dire need of volunteers," said Lauren Vance, Director of Communications for Meals on Wheels of Tampa. "On Monday alone, we have 25 open routes. That means there are no volunteers signed up to deliver those routes."

Vance and Alfaro say this is so critical because volunteers also check in daily on hundreds of Tampa's homebound. They making sure they are safe and haven't had a fall or worse.

"Many of them, our volunteers, are the only person they get to talk to all day," Alfaro said.

But Alma just loves the fact that she always shares a laugh with Alfaro.

"I love her, because I can tease her, and she's not going to get mad," Stilley said.

She says more people would be lucky to have someone like Alfaro as a friend.

Meals on Wheels of Tampa leaders say many of their volunteers deliver meals maybe just once a week.

They are also very flexible with what routes you take and how often you deliver.

Click here If you'd like to learn more about what it takes to volunteer.