Dear Friends & Colleagues,
For the last 34 years, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has operated The Food Bank of Manatee. The Food Bank of Manatee opened its doors in 1985 as one of the “PLUS” programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS and is the largest hunger-relief organization based in Manatee County. We have proudly and consistently distributed over 4 million pounds of food annually in Manatee County through 100 partner agencies and food pantries.
Up until June of 2018, The Food Bank of Manatee was the Feeding America affiliate for Manatee County through its distribution partnership contract with Feeding Tampa Bay, a direct member of Feeding America.
Last summer, Feeding Tampa Bay unilaterally moved to what it calls a “regional distribution model,” meaning the Tampa-based organization made the decision to no longer distribute donations through The Food Bank of Manatee from Feeding America's network. At that time, there were many questions and concerns about the supply chain of food into our community and what this change would mean for The Food Bank of Manatee and our ability to feed those in need. The purpose of this letter is to bring you up to date on our progress and the status of the programs of The Food Bank of Manatee at the one-year mark of our independence.
The Food Bank of Manatee’s 2018/19 scorecard includes…drumroll please!
- Distributed 4.1 million pounds of food into our community during the year of 2018.
- Continued to serve 100 Manatee County food pantries and partner agencies.
- Delivered 36,000 pounds of produce twice a week to WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) at the Manatee County Health Department and Manatee County Title 1 schools.
- Delivered monthly produce to our senior home-delivered meal clients to the tune of 36,310 pounds.
- Distributed 18,000 weekend sacks of food to Manatee County school-age children on summer break, resulting in over 110,000 meals in the summer of 2018.
- Partnered with Manatee County Schools and the “Soar in 4” program each month and shared food-engaging activities and education with four-year-olds and their parents.
- Received 90,000 pounds of food through the “Stuff the Bus” event at every Publix store in Manatee County. This is a community-wide effort sponsored by Mosaic and iHeartMedia, and coordinated through Publix, United Way Suncoast, The School District of Manatee, and led by The Food Bank of Manatee.
- Acquired 42,834 pounds of food through the recent Letter Carriers’ Postal Food Drive in Manatee County.
- Secured over 895,866 pounds of USDA food for distribution in our community over the first six months of 2019 (total for the full year in 2018 was 808,305 pounds).
- In 2018, distributed a combined total of 2,500 Emergency Family Food & Baby Baskets. In 2019 to date, distributed a combined total of 1,466 Emergency Family Food & Baby Baskets.
- Distributed over 3,300 pounds of pet food in 2018 through our Emergency Baskets and for delivery to our homebound seniors through the home-delivered meal program; Distributed approximately 1,200 pounds of pet food to date in 2019.
- In 2019, secured two new cargo vans to help transport food throughout Manatee County through the generosity of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.
Through our umbrella of programs, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee continues to be recognized for our Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar. In addition, 95 cents of every dollar donated goes directly back into our “PLUS” programs, which means funds donated to Meals on Wheels PLUS stay local and make a difference right here in Manatee County every day.
Earlier this year, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee was named the 2019 Non-Profit of the Year in Manatee County by the Herald Tribune’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Our annual, sold-out event, Tropical Nights, was also named the 2019 Fundraiser of the Year in Manatee County!
Clearly, these recognitions are made possible by our dedicated staff, our Board of Directors, our donors, our annual sponsors, our amazing volunteers, and all of our Community Partners. We sincerely thank you for your support and ask you to share our story within your circle of influence.
With sincere gratitude,