|(Bradenton, FL. –November 13th, 2012) More than 130,000 pounds of food was collected this past weekend for The Food Bank of Manatee during the annual “Stuff the Bus”campaign. The 2012 amount easily exceeded the 120,000 collected in 2011. In the ongoing effort to help
feed the hungry in our community, the 4th annual “Stuff the Bus” event took place at all Manatee County Publix Super Markets on Saturday, Nov. 17th and Sunday, Nov. 18th. Manatee District school buses were parked in front of all Publix locations and area shoppers were encouraged to donate food to fill each bus. The response was overwhelming.
This initiative is a partnership between the Manatee School District, Publix, Tropicana, FM radio stations 106.5 CTQ and 92.1 The Coast, and United Way of Manatee County, to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee.
Scott Martin, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services remarked, “Part of the school district’s mission statement is to inspire our students to contribute to our community, nation, and world. Stuff the Bus is a great opportunity for our students to make a significant, direct contribution to the less fortunate of Manatee County. We are proud of the hard work of our students, staff, and community partners in making this a successful event”.
There are more than 2,000 children in the Manatee County school system who are homeless and unsure of how they are going to get their next meal. Through its 100 partner agencies, including the school district’s Project Heart, The Food Bank helps to ensure that these families are not going hungry. Philip Brown, President of United Way of Manatee County said, “Fortunately, we live in a community that cares for one another. This initiative is a perfect example of how reaching out a hand to one can influence the condition of all.”
“It has been a very tough year for a lot of people,” said Cindy Sloan, Director of The Food Bank of Manatee, “The food collected will help ensure that our neighbors, friends, and co-workers won’t be going hungry in their time of need. It all stays here in our community.”
The 130,000 pounds of food was sorted and packed on each bus, and unloaded at The Food Bank in less than three hours. “We are so thankful for the many volunteers who stepped up to help with this event,” said Maribeth Phillips, CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, which operates The Food Bank. “They came from all areas of the community – students, civic groups, businesses, and clubs – wanting to make a difference, and they certainly did.”