Tampa Bay Rays reward several Manatee nonprofits with donations

rdymond@bradenton.comSeptember 28, 2013 

MANATEE -- Besides being able to figure out cell phones better than adults, modern children are capable of using a microwave to fix a macaroni and cheese dinner if they are hungry and by themselves.

But the demand for such quick and easy snack food dinners makes them scarce in The Food Bank of Manatee, said Kristen Theisen, a vice president with Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, Inc., which runs the food bank.

That's where the Rays Baseball Foundation comes in, Theisen said.

The Foundation, the official charity of the Tampa Bay Rays, a few days ago awarded $100,000 to 19 local nonprofit organizations, including a $5,000 grant to the Food Bank of Manatee for a proposal called, "Healthy Snacks."

"Our proposal was to buy healthy snacks for kids," Theisen said. "These would include microwave dinners they can prepare themselves, but also things like apple sauce."

Among the 19 nonprofits that won $100,000 in grants were several other Manatee organizations, including Community Haven for Adults & Children with Disabilities, Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, Inc., Manatee Children's Services, Inc., Manatee County Family YMCA and The Family Network on Disabilities of Manatee/Sarasota.

All the grants averaged $5,000, according to the Foundation.

The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County will use its grant for a reading program for children, according to the Rays Baseball Foundation.

Manatee Children's Services will use its funds for a crisis intervention specialist program.

The Manatee County Family YMCA won a grant for a program called "Changing the Destiny of Teen Moms."

"More Alike Than Different" is the name of the grant winning program from The Family Network on Disabilities of Manatee/Sarasota.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.

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