|Two area sponsors are set to launch challenge into overdrive
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Aug. 20, 2013) – With food pantry supplies barely able to feed local families in need, Manatee County leaders tomorrow will kick off the Grand Challenge during a press conference at 9 a.m., announcing a major boost from two area donors.
During the press conference at the Food Bank of Manatee, 811 23rd Ave. E., Bradenton, some of the community’s top leaders will again make an appeal to local businesses, clubs and civic organizations to each raise 1,000 pounds of food, $1,000 in cash or a combination of the two during September. Tomorrow’s press conference will reveal two local groups whose donation commitments will supercharge this year’s Grand Challenge.
“The need is just as great, if not greater this year,” said Maribeth Phillips, CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS which operates the Food Bank. “We’re not asking anyone to give more than last year, but we need more groups than ever to participate if we’re going to do better than last year’s totals and get us through to the holiday giving season.”
Manatee County Commissioners Carol Whitmore and Vanessa Baugh, School Board member Julie Aranibar and Superintendent Roger Rick Mills and State Representative Jim Boyd are all scheduled to be a part of tomorrow’s announcement.
Nearly 150 local groups collected close 70,000 pounds of food and more than $55,000 in last year’s Grand Challenge to help the Food Bank feed local families. This year’s challenge asks local groups to do the same, with an emphasis on food and supplies for infants.
Food Bank officials were overwhelmed by the community response to the Grand Challenge last year and said the proceeds greatly helped feed Manatee County families. Food Bank Director Cindy Sloan said the Grand Challenge went a long way to raise awareness for Manatee’s significant hunger issues. Businesses that never before participated in local food drives have now become involved.
“The community’s response was incredible last year,” Sloan says. “I hope people realize exactly how much this helps feed hungry kids and families throughout our county. We truly appreciate all the help.”
Anyone interested can obtain a Food Bank food collection barrel by calling (941) 747-FOOD. Food Drive Kits can also be found on the Food Bank’s website.
Throughout September a participating group can simply call the Food Bank to retrieve food from full collection barrels.
Food Bank officials use the cash donations to buy food, sometimes as low as 9 cents per pound, so more than 100,000 pounds of food was distributed as a result of last year’s Grand Challenge.