Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee serves thousands of clients through four main programs which include: Home-delivered Meal program, The Food Bank of Manatee, Daybreak Adult Day Center and Friendship Dining Centers. Since 1972, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has delivered more than 11 million meals to homebound seniors, distributed tens of millions of pounds of food to area families and provided social services for seniors. Amy Towery, the Vice President of Development for Meals on Wheels said it was an awesome accomplishment and they were happy to celebrate with the whole community, “Since 1972 we have been faithfully serving our community and we’re so excited to have this open house today to have members of the community come join us, see the amazing work we’re doing. We have a demonstration kitchen here for the Open House with a chef from Pier 22. It allows us to have a way to teach people how to eat healthy, how to live healthy and providing people with vital nutrition.” Initially founded with the purpose of providing nutritious meals to the elderly and disabled residents of Manatee County, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, the organization grew over the years in response to community needs, and the “PLUS” was eventually added to the name as a way of representing the many other services offered. An advocate for the isolated, hungry, alone and those in need of hope, it has impacted thousands each year through programs and services that are a lifeline to babies, children, families, adults and seniors.
During the Open House celebration, attendees were given a tour of the upgraded facilities when they were shown firsthand how Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is able to serve the local community. In addition, many archived images, news clippings, and other materials were on display for the attendees to admire. In the finale, a cooking demonstration of a Pier 22 Salad with Blackened Chicken was given by Dana Johnson, CEPC, Manager & Certified Executive Pastry Chef of Pier 22, in the new William G. & Marie Selby Foundation Nutrition Services Center.