Meals on Wheels adding vaccine to the menu for homebound Floridians

James Rogers’ wife Lee cannot speak. A traumatic brain injury 12 years ago left her bedridden.

"There’s no communication between us at all," he said. "I taught her several years ago, the only way we can communicate, I taught her by telling her how much I love her to blink her eyes."

But that’s not the only way Rogers expresses his devotion – the Tampa resident has spent the last several months trying to get his wife the COVID-19 vaccine

"It’s been the worst thing to happen to me," he complained. 

Lee is one of many homebound Florida residents who meet the eligibility requirement, but simply cannot travel to one of the county or federal sites to get vaccinated.

Meals on Wheels in Tampa is trying to change that.

Kelly Santos says her volunteers realized -- the very people they serve hot meals to every day were also folks who couldn’t leave to get the vaccine. Last month, Santos sent out an invite asking if they needed vaccinations.

"We ended up with 200 people, which is a quarter of our base," Santos said. "And the relief is unbelievable."

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Tampa Bay area counties

In the last few weeks, their mobile unit has vaccinated more than 100 homebound seniors through the help of Transcare Ambulance Service.

For residents like Lee, this might be the answer.

"She qualifies for it in every respect known," Rogers said. "It would make me the happiest person on God’s green earth if I could get a vaccine for my bride of 33 years, tomorrow."

If you know of a homebound senior who would benefit from this service, Santos says you do not need to be a part of the Meals on Wheels homebound program. Call Meals on Wheels Tampa for assistance at (813) 238-8410.