Lakewood Ranch's Sisterhood for Good provides $44,359 in grants to impact nonprofits.
With its $3,500 grant from Lakewood Ranch's Sisterhood for Good — presented Aug. 5 at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing — Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee will be better equipped to handle a need for food that has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the kind of impact Sisterhood for Good's members have had since its first grants were presented in 2011.
Maribeth Phillips, the president and CEO of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, said the nonprofit has not seen a decrease in need as the pandemic has continued. She appreciates the effort made by Sisterhood for Good.
“We’re serving about 600 families each week through this program and distributing all of this food through our community partners and through working with the schools,” Phillips said. “It’s not going away.”
Since Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee began the Food4Families program in partnership with the School District of Manatee County in March of 2020, the nonprofit has provided 1.2 million meals to families throughout Manatee County during the pandemic.
The Meals on Wheels Plus grant was one of 20 presented by Sisterhood for Good with a total of $44,359.
Other nonprofits were just as grateful to receive grants.
The Player’s Centre for Performing Arts received $1,500 to support scholarships for 10 students to attend a week of summer camp. This is the third grant the nonprofit has received from Sisterhood for Good.
“I can’t tell you what a difference it has made to the kids who come to our studio who cannot afford to be there,” said Donna DeFant, the chair of the nonprofit’s board. “I break down and cry every time I hear the fabulous stories from the moms about what a difference it made to their kid and the confidence that it gave their kids and how much they felt like they were part of a family when they came to our camps or did our classes. It’s heartwarming.”
DeFant said people often think ticket sales are enough for the nonprofit to put on productions and provide camps and other services, but it also takes community support.
“We are a true community theater,” DeFant said. “There’s a lot of professional theaters all around us, but we are here for the community, and the community is here for us, which is so important. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be around for 92 years.”
Another nonprofit that received a grant was HOPE Family Services, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence and help survivors stay safe, gain strength and evaluate their options.
HOPE Family Services received a $1,500 grant to feed residents at the nonprofit’s Emergency Safe Shelter. The average cost of a meal is $3.39, so the grant will provide 442 meals for residents.
Stacey McKee, the development director for HOPE Family Services, said receiving the grant is humbling and the nonprofit is grateful for the community support.
“We take our safety for granted, so to provide something so small as a meal is sometimes a game changer for our residents,” McKee said.
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