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Food banks reap bountyof contributors

If you were one on the thousands of people who donated cash or food at local Publix supermarkets during the Easter/Passover holidays rest assured your contributions helped feed the hungry.

Publix last week distributed nearly $60,000 divided equally between the Food Bank of Manatee, run by Meals on Wheels Plus, All Faiths Food Bank and the Mayors Feed the Hungry Program.

Each received a check for more than $19,000, plus sacks of contributed food.

Those contributions will help local food banks make it through the summer when contributions usually drop off. Even though those contributions go down, the need for food continues. Given Manatee County’s record 11 percent unemployment rate, I suspect that the need for food will outpace past years.

Day in and day out, the folks at local food banks and soup kitchens find ways to keep the meals and provisions flowing. Most of us don’t realize the effort that takes.

There are also a lot of donors the public never hears about, like a local grower who recently gave more than 9,000 pounds of cabbage and strawberries to the Food Bank of Manatee.

When I asked him if I could do a story on his contribution, he politely refused.

“That’s not why I did this,” he said. “I don’t want any recognition. It’s was just something my family and I wanted to do.’

Ellen Campbell, Meals on Wheels executive directior was overjoyed with his contribution. Within hours of arrival, those thousands of pounds of cabbages and strawberries were distributed to families of a local network of child care centers who serve low-income families.

Good things are indeed happening during these bad times.

Years ago, when I was in college, the mother of one of my best friends, said she thought our generation was pampered and spoiled. “You need to live through a depression,” she said. “That’s what is wrong with society today, people think things are more important than people. Your values are all screwed up.”

At the time, I was shocked by what she said.

But, today, nearly four decades later, I finally grasp what she meant.

Life is only good when each of us stops focusing on “me” and instead begins reaching out to others who problems and needs are greater than our own.

The old cliche, “what goes around, comes around,” is true.

Just ask the folks at the local food banks who see miracles every day.