811 23rd Avenue E., Bradenton, FL 34208 (941) 747-4655

December 2022 News Updates


As we watched Hurricane Ian move closer to Florida, the staff at Meals on Wheels PLUS began preparations for the impending storm. Days before the hurricane, our team strategized on how best to meet the needs of our Home-delivered Meal clients for the week. In anticipation of not being able to deliver meals, we began planning for deliveries for the entire week-four days of normal deliveries were made in two days.

Once the storm passed, and we were able to resume operations, we immediately began planning food distributions for the hard-hit areas in Manatee. The storm left devastation of flooding and power outages in Myakka, along with several other areas who were initially without power. We began bringing supplies to Myakka just two days after the storm ended, and for the next two weeks continued with distributions of food and critical supplies in Myakka, along with Duette, Pride Park, and Lincoln Park.

With Hurricane Nicole also hitting Florida, once again Meals on Wheels PLUS immediately went into action to ensure our seniors would have the food they need. All 200 clients who normally get deliveries on Thursdays (day of the storm’s greatest impact), were called, and all meals were delivered the previous day. The additional 700 clients who receive meals were also called to ensure they were aware of the pending storm. In an abundance of safety, we suspended our two group programs on Thursday, Daybreak Adult Day Center and Friendship Dining Center, along with our transportation services for Thursday.

We are deeply proud of our staff and volunteers who respond with urgency and care for the clients we serve. Our work is critical every day, and when a disaster like a hurricane happens, the programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS are a lifeline to those in need in Manatee County.

Maribeth Phillips
President & CEO


The 17th Annual Holiday Shoebox Drive to benefit Manatee County seniors is under way, and we invite you to join our efforts. Gifts of toiletries, trinkets, and small necessities will be packed in decorated shoeboxes and delivered to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. Our goal is to provide a gift for 1,000 seniors this year during the Holidays.

Our annual Shoebox Drive is a great way to promote your business while helping a great cause. Donating items, such as a raffle prize from your business, tickets, or a gift card donated by your business will help raise important support.

The Shoebox Drive will continue through December 3, 2022, at our Community Reception at the Lakewood Ranch Elks Lodge, 4602 Lena Road, East Bradenton, FL 34211 from 4-6 pm. Entry to the event is FREE with a wrapped, filled shoebox. Otherwise, admission is $20. We hope you will attend this fun, festive party where the community comes together to support this program. Click here for more information.


The impacts of inflation and rising costs remain in our community as we continue to see increased needs for the critical services provided by Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee!

Hundreds of thousands of meals have been delivered this year and the need for basic nutrition will continue into the New Year and beyond. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to help feed our community in the months ahead.

Charitable gifts received before, or postmarked by, 12/31/22 are tax-deductible in the year they are made.

Thank you for your support!

Click here for more information about tax-deductible donations.


The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee was selected as the beneficiary of The Lake Club’s 3rd Annual Turkey Trot event, held on Thanksgiving Day in The Lake Club community of Lakewood Ranch. The event hosted by Race Directors and residents David Ahrens, Jeff Waddle and Elizabeth Waddle consisted of three race distance options for participants to run, walk or jog – 1 mile, 5k or 10k. With more than 225 registrants, and 30 sponsors in 2022, including title sponsor David Ahrens, REALTOR® of RE/MAX Platinum Realty, it became the largest event ever within the community. The Race Directors in collaboration with The Lake Club Women’s Giving Circle led by Barbara Najmy (Chair and founder), as well as individual donations by residents of The Lake Club, supported our objective to create a community-friendly event that raised funds for a very important cause. As a result, The Food Bank of Manatee is the recipient of an impressive $17,500 from these race funds which will be used to help feed those in need in Manatee County this holiday season. Approximately 25,000 meals can be provided with the funds raised, proving that together, #WeFeedManatee! Thank you to everyone, including all our volunteers, for giving back to the community.

“With the inflationary challenges present today, more and more people are food insecure and relying on The Food Bank of Manatee (a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS). We are sincerely grateful to The Lake Club Women’s Giving Circle and the Turkey Trot sponsors and participants for the success of the event. The funds raised for The Food Bank of Manatee will result in thousands of meals for children, families, and seniors here in Manatee County,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee.


In an effort to bring the holiday spirit to local, food-insecure families, The Food Bank of Manatee will be distributing a Holiday dinner as part of the #Food4Families program. The distribution will be on Monday, December 19th at 4pm at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, 811 23rd Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208. The meal is for a family to prepare at home and will feed 5-6 people. For more information about our #Food4Families program, click here.


Even though it was a little cloudy, Thanksgiving Day got a lot brighter for our Home-delivered Meal Clients. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff, nearly 750 Thanksgiving meals were delivered to local, homebound seniors on over 90 routes across Manatee County on Thanksgiving Day. The special holiday delivery means so much to our clients and volunteers reported that it felt great to help others in need in our community. The meals were delivered in insulated bags, provided by Ian Black Real Estate. Along with being overjoyed about receiving a special Thanksgiving meal, many clients were especially excited to keep the special delivery bag. Delivering meals on Thanksgiving Day highlights the work Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee does to support seniors in the local community year-round!


Yarn donations are needed so that volunteers can make handmade blankets for our clients. Donations can be dropped off or shipped to our location at 811 23rd Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208. Your donations are greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, November 29th was #GivingTuesday, and we want to thank everyone who was so generous in supporting the critical work of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee as we work to provide vital nutrition to thousands in Manatee County.

Our deepest gratitude to Sara and Steve Bayard and three other anonymous donors for their generous support and interest in helping those who need food, by providing matching gifts.

We are so grateful to be able to share with you that, with the matching monies, and the thoughtful contributions of so many in our community, nearly $214,000 was raised to #FeedManatee!


This year’s Empty Bowls events were a huge success. Hundreds of people attended the two events and $28,000 was raised to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee, a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee.

This kind of success would not be possible without the attendees and donors as well as our volunteers. We are especially thankful to our Bowl Sponsors — CoolToday, Neal Communities, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Bob & Carol Carter, and Lakewood Ranch Main Street; our Souper Sponsors — ABC7 Sarasota – WWSB, Carl Reynolds Law, and Chef2Home by Metz; our Chowder Sponsor — Mosaic; and our Spoon Sponsors — Bradenton Christian H.S. Art Class, Cablish & Gentile CPAs, CBIZ, Cheney Brothers, Clay Club at SCF, Michelle Detweiler, Florida Westcoast Woodworkers Club, Lakewood Ranch H.S. Ceramic Club, Maintenance Too, Max Packaging, Terrie McNamara, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Water Boy. We also extend a huge thanks to the local restaurants that donated soup — Manatee Technical College, Popi’s Place, Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Metro Diner, Central Cafe, Pier 22, GROVE Restaurant , The Granary LWR, Truman’s Tap & Grill, McGrath’s Irish Ale House, O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar, The Breakfast Company, Mean Dean’s, Chicken Salad Chick, Remy’s on Main, Sofia’s, First Watch, Chef Amalia, Bonefish Grill, and Oak & Stone. Thank you also to Chick-fil-A on Cortez and Cheney Brothers who provided cookies for dessert.


By clicking on our AmazonSmile page and choosing Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee as your preferred non-profit organization, a percentage of your Amazon purchase will be donated to Meals on Wheels PLUS and go a long way to feeding families in need! #WeFeedManatee. SHOP NOW


Over the last 14 years, through the Share the Love Event, Subaru of America and its participating retailers have donated more than $250 million to charity, with customers choosing between four national and over 1,700 hometown charities. If you are purchasing a Subaru between November 17, 2022, and January 3, 2023, and choose Meals on Wheels, you will be helping feed thousands of homebound seniors in Manatee County. Click here for more information.


There is more than one way to support the mission of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. The Center For Skin Wellness raffled a basket of skincare and wellness products that generated a donation of $1,600 to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee. In addition, their employees donated over a dozen wrapped and filled shoeboxes for our Holiday Shoebox Drive.

If you are interested in learning more about our current funding needs, there are opportunities for you to help, too! Click here to find out how!


Recently, employees from Bank of America volunteered at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee in which they helped with tasks needed for our Holiday Shoebox Drive including wrapping shoeboxes awaiting to be filled.

“As part of the Employee Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion our goal is promote and bring awareness about the non-profit organizations like Meals on Wheels that depend on the support of the community to continue with their mission,” said Nancy T., Assistant V.P. at Merrill Lynch, a Bank of America Company.

As a group they really enjoyed the tour and learning about all the work that Meals on Wheels does on a daily basis to provide for the community. They watched a video and got to hear from the people that receive the help, which was very touching and inspiring. They thanked the team at Meals on Wheels for their commitment and hard work.

Inspired by the Bank of America volunteering story? You can become a volunteer today by registering here.


Without the support of local organizations, carrying out our mission would be impossible. Recently, Tidemark Financial—Ameriprise Financial held a food drive that raised over 400 lbs of food. They also continued their support of our Holiday Shoebox Drive. Their sponsorship allows us to provide an additional 25 shoeboxes to local, homebound seniors. These shoeboxes are often the only holiday present they will receive.

If you are interested in learning more about ways to support Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, click here!