January 25, 2021: Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee was selected as one of 384 organizations across the nation to receive a multi-million-dollar financial investment from writer, advocate, and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Representatives reached out to the Bradenton, Florida-based nonprofit organization on Scott’s behalf in early December, indicating a gift would be forthcoming. Scott announced her philanthropic intentions in mid-December via the website Medium.com.
“We are honored that our work feeding people in our community during these unimaginable times inspired Ms. Scott’s donation. This transformational gift is instrumental in achieving our strategic plan, and we are deeply grateful,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO. “Ms. Scott’s gift accelerates our capital improvements, which started in 2019, and allows us to continue to build the foundation of our future so that we carry on our critical mission here in Manatee,” Phillips added.
The Board Chair of Meals on Wheels PLUS, Mark Goodson, also commented, “Ms. Scott’s team did extensive research on the organizations selected for these gifts. When you consider the diligence that went into reviewing over 6,400 organizations across the country for consideration, and that 384 charities were selected for funding now, it makes this gift so much more meaningful to our organization. We are grateful to be included and know that Ms. Scott’s trust in the ability of our organization is well-placed.”
In addition to the flagship Home-delivered Meals program Meals on Wheels is known for, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee also operates PLUS programs in Manatee County. Among those PLUS programs are:
- The Food Bank of Manatee, the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization based in Manatee County;
- Daybreak Adult Day Center, the only licensed adult day center in Manatee County;
- Friendship Dining Centers where seniors gather for nutrition, social interaction, and physical activities.
Since February of 2020, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has experienced a 60%+ increase in demand for Home-delivered Meals, serving seniors and disabled residents in Manatee County. The Food Bank of Manatee is seeing a 50%+ increase in the amount of food drawn from The Food Bank for the 85 food pantries and partner agencies who rely on the organization for food. In addition, in response to COVID-19, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee began the Food4Families program, in support of the School District of Manatee County, in March of 2020 to provide food directly to community members who had been impacted by the pandemic. Distributions included bags of food to feed a family of five breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two or more days. Over 780,000 meals were provided through the Food4Families program in 2020 and distributions will continue in 2021. While programming for Daybreak Adult Day Center and Friendship Dining Centers has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, outreach to seniors including weekly calls and virtual Zoom calls to engage clients, continue.