The temperatures in June and July were high and so was the need for food in our community! During the 2023 summer break thousands of meals were provided to children and their families in Manatee County!  

With the contents of the food bags each week designed from a menu providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner to feed a family of five for two or more days, the staff at The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee got to work sourcing food. Utilizing the generous financial support of our donors and community supporters, food was purchased by the pallet and assembled by volunteers each week during the 9-week summer break. The result: over 181,000 meals were provided!  

Thank you to everyone who donated, packed, and distributed Food4Families bags this summer. Your support made all these smiles possible: 


Stuff the Bus 2023

Calling all volunteers! The 14th annual Stuff the Bus food drive will be happening on Sunday, October 1st from 9am-3pm at ALL Manatee County Publix locations. Volunteers are needed to accept donations from community shoppers, organize donations by type, pack into boxes and load onto buses. Special thanks to the following partners for helping make this AMAZING event possible:  

School District of Manatee, United Way Suncoast, Publix, Herald Tribune IHQ, and Observer Media Group.

A HUGE shoutout to Mosaic, our 2023 presenting sponsor.

Find out more and sign up at HERE

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.

Hurricane Supply Kits

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is providing Hurricane Resiliency Kits to senior clients in the Home-delivered Meals program who need resources to be prepared in the event of a weather emergency.  

 “Hurricane Ian taught us the importance of being prepared for a storm, and also the great expense incurred in having basic supplies on hand,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. “Many seniors on fixed incomes do not have the extra funds or ability to shop for these critical supplies. Most of our frail seniors live alone, and recent storms have been terrifying for them. These kits will go far to alleviate some of those fears and provide comfort,” she added. The Kits include items such as: a weather radio, flashlight, batteries, glow sticks, puzzle book, first aid kit, bug repellent, and rain poncho all distributed in a 5-gallon bucket with a lid.  

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee serves over 900 clients and approximately half are most in need of basic hurricane preparedness supplies. The Kits are made possible thanks to the generous support of Manatee Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund and The Cox Family Fund at Manatee Community Foundation. Additional support for the kits has been provided by the Department of Elder Affairs and Senior Connection Center.

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.


Kindness Rocks! 

It’s cool to be kind… and the clients at our Friendship Dining Center locations had the opportunity to paint “positivity rocks” during a recent craft exercise. The flat river rocks were decorated using bright paints and positive sayings. The idea behind the project was to give clients an opportunity to make something to give away as a gift or to leave around town to make someone’s day brighter. One client gave her rock to her best friend who was in the hospital. She was excited to give the rock as a gift and it was much appreciated by her friend too! 

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.

Community Harvest

Eat Well. Do Good. 

Please support Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee by dining at any of the 1905 Family of Restaurants during the month of September. That includes all seven locations of the Columbia Restaurant as well as Cha Cha Coconuts, Ulele, Goody Goody, and Casa Santo Stefano.

Through its month-long Community Harvest program, now in its 26th year, the company donates 5 percent of all diners’ checks to Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee when selected by the guests. Choose Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee from the ballot that is provided with your check. The restaurant will provide us with gift certificates to use in our auctions and raffles. There’s no additional cost to you!

Community Harvest involves each of the Columbia locations, including Ybor City in the historic district of Tampa, St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida’s town of Celebration, the Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa at the Tampa Bay History Center and the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport.

Our thanks to the Gonzmart Family for this very generous support! Together, #WeFeedManatee!


Mark Your Calendars!

September 28th 5:30-8:00pm 

Join us for a FUN event featuring live cooking demonstrations! Indulge in delicious samples prepared by Celebrity Chef, Angela Massaro-Fain and get exclusive access to her cookbook recipes featured in Bacio Di Cucina! 

Admission includes wine and dinner-size appetizers PLUS a chance to win fabulous prizes. Grab your tickets now for an unforgettable culinary experience for a good cause! Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Daybreak Clients Armchair-Travel to England

Clients at Daybreak Adult Day Center had a Britain themed armchair travel experience! The day started with a proper English breakfast of Bangers and Bread. After breakfast, clients learned about the history of the royal family through Kahoot, an online learning game, which was followed by a visit from the Royal family and their Guard.  

Clients learned all about British customs and traditions and enjoyed English shortbread biscuits for an afternoon snack! 

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.

Warehouse Staff Excited with Brand-New Forklift

Johnny, Pete, and Mitchell are excited to try out the new forklift.


Thanks to an anonymous donor, The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee received a new forklift to replace aging equipment. We are very excited to receive this amazing gift that is sure to be put to great use! Together, #WeFeedManatee  

Mitchell, pictured on the right, has worked at The Food Bank of Manatee for over 20 years and can’t recall ever having a brand-new forklift to operate! The staff are very excited!


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 others. Click here for more information.

Neal Land & Neighborhoods  

Frank Perry, Vice President of Strategic Food Bank Operations and Transportation helps to load non-perishable food items donated from the North River Ranch community.


North River Ranch, the flagship master-planned community of Neal Land & Neighborhoods, exceeded its 2022 donation with over 650 lbs. of food donated to Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. The community-wide food drive was organized by master-planned community developer Neal Land & Neighborhoods with the support of North River Ranch’s residents and home builders: Cardel Homes Florida, David Weekley Homes, Homes by WestBay, KB Home, Neal Communities, Pulte Homes and Park Square Homes.

“Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is a trusted community partner of our organization and we’re proud to continue supporting their cause,” said John A. Neal, president of Neal Land & Neighborhoods. “We’re very grateful for the residents at North River Ranch who have come together to provide significant food donations, year after year. We also thank our builder partners for their contribution to this effort.”

“We are grateful for the support of Neal Land & Neighborhoods as we see an increase in food-insecurity in our county,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. “This is a great example of our community coming together to support people in need. We are so very thankful for the generosity of the residents and leadership of Neal Land & Neighborhoods,” she added.

Hurricane Volunteers! 


We are so grateful to the many volunteers and staff who assisted in delivering meals and Hurricane Resiliency Kits ahead of Idalia making landfall. In anticipation of the storm, the delivery schedule was modified to make sure clients received their meals ahead of the necessary closure for staff and volunteer safety. It truly was an effort of gigantic proportions to deliver to over 400 clients in just one day, but our volunteers and staff were up to the challenge and showed up in full force to make sure every meal was delivered. 

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Food Distribution Programs | September 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.


Thanks to our 2023 Sponsors

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