- April 5, 2017
While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to subside in 2022, the hardships continued in Manatee County.
Inflation caused higher gas prices, an increase in food costs and rent hikes. Then Hurricane Ian made its way through Manatee County.
Maribeth Phillips, the president and chief executive officer of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, said those factors resulted in an increased demand for the nonprofit’s services. Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee released its 2022 impact numbers last week.
“It gives us great satisfaction knowing we are meeting the needs as best we can as the community supports us,” Phillips said. “These emergency crisis situations like the hurricane and inflation speak to the programs of Meals on Wheels Plus. These incidents create a spotlight on what we offer to people here in Manatee County. People rely on the food bank and home delivered meals.”
Phillips said the nonprofit expects 2023 to see a continued increase in demand.
“We have not experienced a slowdown and expect to continue on a path of feeding more, both for seniors needing home delivered meals and families who rely on the Food Bank of Manatee,” she said. “To so many, our programs are life changing and life saving. We truly appreciate and rely on the support of our community to fill this basic need. I always say Manatee County takes care of Manatee County. I’m looking forward to the continued support and continued ability for us to get these programs out to people in need.”
This year, Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee is partnering with the School District of Manatee County to create a Nutrition Education Partnership Program, a piloted curriculum-based program that will use a teaching kitchen at Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee to teach students about nutrition, the food chain and community nutrition programs.
Here is a look at Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee's impact on the county in 2022:
306,000: Home-delivered meals to seniors in the community
1,000: Home-delivered meal clients
90: Delivery routes to provide meals to homebound seniors across Manatee County
3.4 million: Pounds of food distributed through the Food Bank of Manatee
90,000: Pounds of free, fresh produce provided to seniors and families through Produce on Wheels and Mobile Produce Pantry programs
145,000: Meals provided to Manatee County families in need through Food4Families and holiday meal distributions
23,000: Volunteer hours
140,000: Pounds of food distributed for hurricane relief to those in Manatee County affected by Hurricane Ian
85: Seniors provided nutrition and therapeutic activities in social and congregate meal programs