Goodwill Manasota honors the CEO of Meals on Wheels Plus.
She saw an advertisement and it all began.
“Help us fill shoeboxes for needy seniors.”
Maribeth Phillips, who will be honored Oct. 5 at Michael’s On East in Sarasota as one of Goodwill Manasota’s six Community Ambassadors of the Year, had just moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2006 and had a housewarming party on the schedule.
Then she saw that ad.
“One shoe changed Cinderella’s life and one shoebox changed mine,” said Phillips, who now is the chief executive officer for Meals on Wheels Plus.
Instead of the typical housewarming party, Phillips asked her friends to bring shoeboxes and items to donate.
“We had a little happy hour reception, some of them brought wrapped shoeboxes, some brought the stuff but not the box,” Phillips said. “We had this whole thing going on.”
Phillips and her friends donated 37 shoeboxes of toiletries, books, socks and other items in 2006. “We were so proud of our 37 shoeboxes,” she said.
One of the first things she did after becoming Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee's CEO was to integrate the shoebox event. It is now called the Community Shoebox Drive.
“It says a lot about who she is,” said Daniel Hodous, the communications director at Goodwill Manasota.