It’s not often when a large number of politicians can agree on a single subject, but when it comes to feeding the area’s needy this holiday season, mayors around Manatee and Sarasota counties are all on the same page.
The Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Thanksgiving food drive is the one event every mayor in Manatee County and beyond happily apply their names and faces to, in hopes to continue the drive’s continued success. Since 1987, more than 200 tons of food have been collected. More than $200,000 in food gift cards also have been donated, which are distributed locally to help feed the hungry.
The annual drive kicked off Nov. 6 and will last until Nov. 17. Scott Biehler, vice chairman of the program, said the food is sorted and collected on the final day at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, and then delivered to food pantries across the two counties.
All donations stay local, he said.
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Any local organization operating a food pantry is encouraged to collect the food on the drive’s final day, but that can’t be possible without the community’s donations.
“We are issuing a call to action to our schools, businesses and organizations to lend a hand,” said Joel Swallow, chairman of the food drive campaign. “Please donate food and help make sure that no adult or child in Manatee or Sarasota counties will go hungry this holiday season in our local communities.”
Donation sites in Bradenton, Palmetto and Anna Maria Island include the city halls and police stations. Food also can be dropped off at any participating school. Any organization or school wishing to participate can receive collection boxes and will be picked up by volunteers on Nov. 17.
For additional information, contact Biehler at firstname.lastname@example.org.