The Food Bank of Manatee County is challenging local businesses, clubs, civic organizations and residents to collect 1,000 pounds of food or raise $1,000 to help feed hungry families all summer.
The Food Bank of Manatee County launched the campaign this week in its effort to “White Out Summer Hunger.”
“While hunger issues are year round, the need is greater during the summer with children out of school. At the same time, donations typically drop off. We urgently need cereal, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned soup and canned vegetables, to help our families in need,” stated Maribeth Phillips, CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS, which operates The Food Bank of Manatee.
The Food Bank, operated by Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, estimates about 20,000 Manatee County school-aged children will be deprived of meals during the summer break, based on figures provided by the Manatee County School District. Food donations, however, typically decrease during the summer.
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In January, for example, the Food Bank received 61,205 pounds of food donations, but in June received only 16,616 pounds.
The Food Bank of Manatee County, which partners with 100 food pantries, soup kitchens and social service agencies, distributes about 3 million pounds of food annually.
In previous challenges, the Food Bank has raised $100,000 to $200,000, according to spokeswoman Sheri Aiello.
“Previous Grand Challenges have had a big impact on raising awareness and filling the food bank shelves. We are grateful for everyone’s help. This challenge is important to our community, it helps feed hungry kids and families throughout our county, stated Cindy Sloan, vice-president and director of The Food Bank of Manatee.
To participate or for more information, including how to receive a food barrel, call 941-747- 3663 .