Manatee joins Sarasota in annual food drive for Thanksgiving

vmannix@bradenton.comNovember 8, 2012 

MANATEE -- Scott Biehler was looking for a few good men and women.

The 25th annual Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program was under way and the food drive coordinator was trying to round up volunteer drivers to bring donated nonperishable goods to Ed Smith Stadium Nov. 16.

"We're going to need an army," he said. "Pickups. Family cars. We'll take anyone who wants to help."

This year there are 225 locations those volunteer drivers will be gathering food from across Manatee and Sarasota and counties in time for Thanksgiving. Last year there were 165.

"From Parrish to North Port," Biehler said. "Some places will have five boxes, some will have 50."

The Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program is an all-volunteer coalition of charitable organizations, service agencies and religious institutions sponsored by the mayors and government leaders in both counties.

There are no paid employees, no offices and no storage space.

"Everything that comes in will go right back out," he said.

Among the locations for food dropoffs are Bradenton and Palmetto City Hall and the police stations.

The food will be sorted and divided among the participating members of the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Program. They will take it back to their food pantries and give it away free in time for Thanksgiving.

"Our goal is to raise 40 tons of food," Biehler said. "Last year we raised 34 tons and we want to top it. We got that a few years ago, but contributions have been down. We're hoping to make this year our biggest yet."

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

Mayors Feed the Hungry ProgramIf you want to make a contribution, mail a check to:

The Mayors Feed the Hungry Program, P.O. Box 1992, Sarasota, FL 34230.

Call Scott Biehler at 941-350-6075 or 941-460-6326.

Or visit www. mayorsfeedthehungry.org.

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