'Grand Challenge' raises 43,000 pounds of food, almost $39,000 for Food Bank

Two months ago, the floor-to-ceiling shelving at the Food Bank of Manatee warehouse was practically empty.

Monday those towering shelves were stacked with big boxes marked cereal, dry meals, pasta, snacks and more.

“What a difference,” said Food Bank director Cindy Sloan.

A difference made by the community’s response to the Grand Challenge to Manatee County’s September food drive to help restock the Food Bank shelves. Initiated by County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and School Board member Julie Aranibar, the challenge urged local groups to raise 1,000 pounds or $1,000 or a combination of the two.

Area businesses, clubs, organizations and schools raised 43,025 pounds of food and nearly $38,720, including a $10,000 contribution from Entre Nous.