Stuff the Bus Results

On Sunday, October 1, The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, benefited from the annual Stuff the Bus community-wide food collection presented by Mosaic! Over 180 volunteers helped to "Stuff the Bus" with non-perishable food items and cash donations at each of the 19 Manatee County Publix locations!

Thanks to the generosity of thousands of supporters, nearly 126,000* pounds of food was donated and over 580 volunteer hours were served!

We are so grateful to our community partners who helped make this event a success! Thank you Publix, Florida Mosaic Operations, School District of Manatee, United Way Suncoast, Herald Tribune Local IQ, and Observer Media Group. We also thank the students from State College of Florida, USF Sarasota-Manatee, and the Boy Scouts for their assistance in unloading all the school buses after the event.

Given the current inflationary factors we are experiencing, the results of this community-wide collection are phenomenal! Thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered and congratulations to the following Top 5 Manatee County Publix Stores:

o University Corner, Store #1600 raised 21,368 pounds.

o Gateway Commons, Store #1666 raised 9,096 pounds.

o White Eagle, Store #1723 raised 8,712 pounds.

o Bradenton Commons, Store #1326 raised 8,359 pounds.

o Lockwood Commons, Store #1447 raised 7,389 pounds.

*Monetary donations will be used to purchase additional non-perishable food items and are included in the totals

Our First Cooking for Charity Event

Our thanks to amazing Celebrity Chef Angela Massaro-Fain for entertaining and cooking for guests at our first Cooking for Charity event held September 28th in the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Nutrition Services Center at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. Nearly 40 guests enjoyed a fabulous evening which included cooking demonstrations, delicious food, and fantastic company! Over $1,500 was raised during this joint event benefiting Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee and Sisterhood for Good.

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee Earns Highest 4-Star Rating From Charity Navigator

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has been recognized by Charity Navigator as a 4-Star Charity, the highest ranking possible. Charity Navigator is an online research tool that guides donors in assessing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, ranking them in the areas of Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community.  You can make your secure gift in support of our mission online today by clicking here!

Friendship Dining Center Opens in Myakka City 

“I love coming here! I have so much fun!” – Friendship Dining Center Client 

Our Friendship Dining Centers feel like a home away from home. Friends gather at this fun program to spend time together, enjoy their hobbies, learn new things, and enjoy great food together.  

We currently have several Friendship Dining Center locations open, including one in Presbyterian Villas and one at our main administration Campus off of 301. In October of 2023, we opened our third Friendship Dining Center located at Myakka Family Worship Center in Myakka City. Participants in this half-day program start the day with a Continental breakfast, followed by activities including chair aerobics, armchair travel, arts and crafts, singing, and bingo all followed by a delicious meal!  

If you or someone you know is interested in joining one of our Friendship Dining Center programs, please call 941-747-4655 or visit for more information. 

The Friendship Dining Program, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, is for people over 60 who would like to make new friends, participate in fun activities, and hear from local experts on a variety of topics as well as enjoy a nutritious meal. Friendship Dining Centers are conveniently located in Manatee County. In some instances, transportation can be provided. Participants enjoy the following services provided at these centers:

  • Activities including films, art, and music
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Card games, bingo, creative projects, and more

For more information about Friendship Dining Centers, please click here.

Mosaic Volunteers Pack Produce for

Mobile Produce Pantry

Employees from Mosaic Florida Operations were on hand in September to help pack produce for our Mobile Produce Distribution. The Mobile Produce Pantry program makes fresh produce accessible to Manatee County residents by providing fresh produce each month, free of charge, in high-need areas. Aside from packing the produce, community volunteers also help to distribute the produce at the Mobile Produce events. 

If you or someone you know needs access to fresh fruits and vegetables, visit our Mobile Produce Pantries on the third Thursday of each month. Click here for more information.

The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, is the only food bank based in Manatee County, and the largest hunger-relief organization in our community. Distributing over 3.4 million pounds of food in Manatee County in 2022, fresh and non-perishable food items are collected, sorted, stored, and distributed through a network of food pantries and partner agencies. Services include:

  • Partnerships with 85+ food pantries and partner agencies
  • Food4Families Direct Distribution Food events, providing 30 meals to feed a family of 5 for two or more days 
  • Free, fresh produce through our Mobile Produce Pantry
  • Pet Food 
  • Nutrition Education 
  • Emergency baby diapers, wipes, and formula distributed into the community
  • Emergency food baskets for families in crisis situations.

Just 80 days until the Christmas Holiday and 1,000 Holiday Shoeboxes to Fill!

Each Holiday Season, we ask for support from the community to wrap and fill 1,000 Holiday Shoeboxes to be delivered to our Home-delivered Meal Clients. The gifts bring so much joy to our senior clients and remind them that they are not alone. 

Can you contribute a wrapped and filled Holiday Shoebox to brighten the day of one of our senior clients? Wrapped and filled Holiday Shoeboxes can be delivered at our Annual Holiday Shoebox Reception on Saturday, December 2nd between 4 and 6pm at Lakewood Ranch Elks Lodge on Lena Road, or during regular business hours, before December 8th at our main office located at 811 23rd Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208.

More information on how you can help is available here.

The Home-delivered Meals

program, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, provides nutritious Home-delivered Meals for those in need in our community. All Home-delivered Meals are approved by a registered dietitian and pureed meals are also available for individuals who have special needs. Nutritious Home-delivered Meals may be available for those who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Live in Manatee County, Florida
  • 60+ years of age
  • Homebound, socially isolated
  • Have difficulty preparing meals or shopping for yourself
  • Unable to attend a congregate nutrition site
  • Lack funds to purchase nutritious food

Click here for more information about our Home-delivered Meals program.


Upcoming Events


Shanty Shakers Share Their Love of Music

A volunteer with a heart for serving others, Charlie G. first got involved with Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee loading cars for volunteers to deliver food to those in need throughout the community. When he signed on to volunteer, he mentioned his love of music and that his band may be able to perform for our clients. Fast forward a few months and the Shanty Shakers were the headline performers at our Dining Center programs in September! From familiar tunes to toe-tapping favorites, the Shanty Shakers entertained and awed those in attendance at our main Friendship Dining Center and Daybreak Adult Day Center locations. The trio has been playing together for about four years and are excited to keep coming to our Centers to entertain the clients. Group leader Charlie G. said, “We enjoy playing and will keep coming to do it as long as the clients keep enjoying it. Some of them dance without even standing up and we have a great time!”  

Our thanks to Charlie and the Shanty Shakers for sharing their love of music with our clients. 

At Daybreak Adult Day Center, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, we provide a safe, secure environment with social, recreational, and therapeutic activities designed to meet the needs of older adults who live at home with a loved one but cannot be left alone while their caregiver works.

Daybreak Adult Day Center is the only licensed and federally funded Adult Day Center in Manatee County, providing an affordable and safe environment for our clients to thrive. Ongoing, year-round programs are Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with most clients attending between 8:30 am and 3:00 pm. For more information about Daybreak Adult Day Center, please click here.

Jiffy Lube October Event  

During the month of October, stop by the Jiffy Lube location at 3101 1st Street in Bradenton and donate $1, $3, or $5 at the register to support the vital work of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee!

The Most Beautiful Empty Bowls


Special thanks to one of our most amazing volunteers, Terrie M., who has been faithfully and lovingly creating beautiful works of art and donating them to our annual Empty Bowls Fundraising event. Every guest at Empty Bowls can pick out a keepsake ceramic bowl as part of the Empty Bowls event. For twenty-four years, Terrie has been donating her lovely ceramic creations and we are so grateful for all that she does to help advance our mission to feed those in need in our community. Terrie donated 75 bowls this year and every single one of them is simply stunning. Thank you Terrie for your thoughtfulness, care, and skill.  

To purchase your tickets to our November 3rd Empty Bowls event on Lakewood Ranch Main Street, click here!

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has counted on the financial support of our generous donors since we first opened our doors in 1972. With our mission to assist individuals to live independently by providing nutrition and caring, supportive services at the forefront of our daily work, thousands upon thousands of people have received help and hope when they needed it most.

As we look to the future, we continue to count on the philanthropic support of our community to meet the ever-growing needs in our community. Planned Giving is a way to leave a legacy to benefit the many clients who receive services from our PLUS programs: Home-delivered Meals, The Food Bank of Manatee, Daybreak Adult Day Center, and Friendship Dining Centers. Click here for more information about leaving a legacy gift in support of our mission.

Publix Serves Manatee County!


Our thanks to the two teams of Publix volunteers who came to lend a hand at our programs during their corporate “Publix Serves” Day in September. The groups packed food and wrapped shoeboxes for our Holiday Shoebox event. Thank you Publix for all you do to help us #FeedManatee. 

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Food Distribution Programs | October 2023

If you are a senior needing meals delivered to your home, we can help! Our Home-delivered Meal program is available to Manatee County residents.


The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, provides non-perishable food items to local food pantries and soup kitchens.


Our Mobile Produce Pantry will be out and about in the community providing fresh and nutritious produce free of charge.


2023 Annual Sponsors  


We are grateful to our 2023 Annual Sponsors. Annual Sponsors provide financial support to Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee to assist with programming and general operations expenses. The support we receive from our Annual Sponsors helps to ensure that we have a firm foundation to build on, year after year. Our thanks to our 2023 Annual Sponsors for your amazing support.

For more information about our Annual Sponsorship program, click here.

Thanks to our 2023 Sponsors

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