BRADENTON — The Manatee Community Foundation recently gave the Food Bank of Manatee $30,000, which the Mosaic Foundation will match. The announcement came in time for the Food Bank’s annual Grand Challenge, which starts in September.
Most of the Food Bank’s donations are made during the holidays, however, the charity feeds local families all year long. Due to small amounts of donations during the summer months, the food bank introduced its Grand Challenge. The Grand Challenge is meant to bring awareness to the ongoing fight against hunger.
For its Grand Challenge this year, the Food Bank of Manatee is asking local groups, businesses and organizations to raise 1,000 pounds of food, $1,000 or a combination of both. For last year’s Grand Challenge, local groups collected more than 21 tons of food and $50,000. This year, the food bank is asking locals to do the same. However, it is emphasizing the need of food and supplies for infants.
In 2012, the food bank distributed nearly 4 million pounds of food. This year, the food bank hopes to surpass that number.
“Anytime that we help a need this large in the community, we feel very good,” says Marilyn Howard, executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation. “In this case, it’s thanks to our donors who are generous with their charitable dollars. If the food bank is empty, then all these food pantries that are out in the different areas are having trouble, too. So, it’s really important to come back and assist the source.”
Currently, the food bank’s warehouse is only 15% full.
Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee is the umbrella organization for local agencies such as Renaissance on 9th, the Senior Enrichment Center, Senior Wheels Transportation Services and the Food Bank of Manatee.
Financial donations are accepted in addition to canned food, diapers and healthy cereals.
For more information, visit www.foodbankofmanatee.com or call 941-747- 4655.
Contact Harriet Sokmensuer at [email protected].
BY THE NUMBERS
1 out of 5 — The number of children at risk of hunger in the state. Almost 25% of households with children in the Manatee/Sarasota area are unable to afford food.
58% — The number of families in the Tampa Bay area that are forced to choose between buying food and paying for basic utilities.
300-Plus — The number of volunteers who are involved in distributing food throughout the community.
4 Million — The number of pounds of food the Food Bank of Manatee distributed in 2012.
3,300 — The number of emergency baby baskets the food bank gives to families in crisis.