You may have heard about the change in the USDA contract on the news over the last few days. As one of our trusted volunteers and supporters, we wanted to share with you what this change will mean in Manatee County.
For over 20 years, MOWP has superbly executed the USDA contract in Manatee County, following the stated contractual guidelines with precision. MOWP was recently notified by the State-appointed Contract Administrator for USDA food donations, Harry Chapin Food Bank, that they had awarded the USDA contract to their Feeding America Affiliate, Feeding Tampa Bay.
This change, in combination with the changes made by Feeding America in July of 2018 as part of their “regional distribution model”, means approximately 3 million pounds of food that had previously been received and distributed by The Food Bank of Manatee will now be managed by an agency based outside of Manatee County.
As another substantial food pipeline is being withdrawn from local control in Manatee County, the leadership and Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee have fiercely advocated for the return of the food supply chain to our local community. Over the last 24 months, MOWP held meetings and facilitated town hall forums with local and state government officials and Feeding America representatives. Additionally, The Food Bank of Manatee sought food procurement from other sources, thereby exhausting every option to keep up with the demand for hungry families in Manatee County.
What does this mean for Meals on Wheels PLUS?
MOWP will proceed with operating The Food Bank of Manatee with a continued focus on emergency food services for infants and families in crisis, fresh produce and nutrition education for food-insecure families, and weekend food during the summer for school-aged children. The Food Bank of Manatee will receive donations through food drives and monetary funds, ensuring all stay local and benefit as many food-insecure people as possible in our community.
Well-known for our hot meal delivery to homebound seniors, Meals on Wheels PLUS provides so much more including its Produce on Wheels Program; Manatee County’s only licensed Adult Day Center, Daybreak in Lakewood Ranch; Congregate Dining Centers in the County; transportation services for senior programs; the Enrichment Center for active seniors; and The Food Bank of Manatee. Our broad and unique spectrum of human services in Manatee County is mission-focused, local, and dedicated to serve Manatee County’s most vulnerable.
How You Can Help:
The Food Bank of Manatee has become an independent food bank over the last 24 months. We need food and funds to meet the needs in our local community.