REFLECTING ON OUR IMPACT FROM THIS PAST YEAR
Happy New Year! We are so grateful for all that was accomplished in 2022! The support of our donors, volunteers, and partners makes our critical work possible. Thank you for helping us take care of our community!
While the pandemic is largely in the rear-view mirror, the effects of rising costs have been far-reaching. As a result, the impact of Meals on Wheels PLUS has been crucial. Through the collective efforts and contributions of donors, volunteers, community members, our Board, and staff, we have made tremendous strides in helping those in need through our PLUS programs. Our programs include: Home-delivered Meals, The Food Bank of Manatee, Daybreak Adult Day Center, and Friendship Dining Centers.
Thank you for all your support in 2022. We look forward to continuing our life-saving impact in 2023 as we serve Manatee County’s most vulnerable.
2022 Impact Report
TOGETHER, IN 2022 WE:
- Delivered nearly 306,000 Home-delivered Meals to over 1,000 clients
- Distributed nearly 3.4 million pounds of food through The Food Bank of Manatee
- Had over 23,000 volunteer hours served by a monthly average of over 215 volunteers
- Delivered nearly 90,000 pounds of fresh produce through Produce on Wheels and Mobile Produce Pantries
- Provided over 145,000 meals to Manatee County families in need through Food4Families and Holiday Meal Distributions
- Distributed over 140,000 pounds of food for hurricane relief in Manatee County
- Reached over 825 potential clients at over 70 outreach events
- Provided nutrition and therapeutic activities to over 85 seniors in both our full-day and half-day social and congregate meal programs
HOLIDAY SHOEBOX RECEPTION & COLLECTION BRINGS HOLIDAY JOY TO SENIORS
Hundreds of wrapped and filled holiday shoeboxes were donated during the 17th Annual Holiday Shoebox Reception & Collection held on Saturday, December 3rd at the Lakewood Ranch Elks Lodge. The event featured a holiday market, raffle items, silent auction, food, drinks, and live entertainment. The silent auction featured items donated by Fusilly’s Kitchen, Allure Nails & Diva Salon, Kacey’s Seafood and More, Van Wezel, Universal Studios, Koquina Spa at Esplanade, Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie, Sofia’s Mediterranean Restaurant, Legacy Golf Club, Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant, as well as additional baskets donated by the staff at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. In addition to the hundreds of shoeboxes donated, the event raised over $10,000 to support the vital mission of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. “It’s a nice, festive event that benefits so many clients,” said Ron & Marcia O., Meals on Wheels PLUS volunteer drivers who attended the event. “It’s so much fun for a great cause,” added Lori V., an event attendee.
The event was made possible by the Presenting Sponsor —The Lakewood Ranch Elks, along with this year’s sponsors—The Blessing Bags Project, Truman’s Tap and Grill, Tidemark Financial Services & Insurance, Vision Source, Gerling Law Group, Cascade Women’s Club, Barbara Milian, Lippert Components, Carol & Bob Carter, Del Taco, Mobile Dynamics, and Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch, and In-Kind Sponsors—Dillard’s, Artisan Lake Esplanade, Esplanade Art Group: Crafts for Causes, and Lynn Spins!
We are grateful this year’s drive collected over 1,800 holiday shoeboxes, far exceeding our goal of 1,000. Not only did all of our clients receive a holiday shoebox, but we were able to support other organizations serving seniors in Manatee County to spread holiday cheer!
The success of the Holiday Shoebox Drive would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers. Two of those volunteers were Cindi H. & Mike G. In his spare time, Mike likes to umpire slow-pitch softball games. He even volunteered doing that at the Special Olympics. And both he and Cindi have volunteered at professional golf events including the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup.
When Cindi and Mike moved to Florida from the northeast, they were looking for a way to better serve the community. After volunteering at a couple of local nonprofits, they were looking for one closer to their Bradenton home and found Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. Mike and Cindi have volunteered at The Food Bank of Manatee, the Stamp Out Hunger drive, and the Empty Bowls events. They were most recently helpful in the quality control of this year’s Holiday Shoeboxes. “We really love helping the local community and are blessed that we can,” says Mike. “Everyone at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is so nice and they make us feel appreciated,” they added.
Inspired by Cindi and Mike’s story, you can register to volunteer by clicking here.
FRIENDSHIP DINING PUTS ON A FASHION SHOW
Our Friendship Dining clients put on fashionable attire and did a little turn on the catwalk for the first Friendship Dining Fashion Show. Many of the clients and some staff dressed up, strutted to the music, and showed off their fashionable looks. All of the Friendship Dining clients showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the festivities and look forward to the next Fashion Show. The Friendship Dining program, which re-opened in June 2022 has amassed over 25 clients.
The Friendship Dining Program is for people over 60 who would like to make new friends, participate in fun activities, and hear from local experts on a variety of topics as well as enjoy a nutritious meal. Friendship Dining Centers are conveniently located in Manatee County.
All Friendship Dining Center clients receive snacks and a meal. For more information or to register for Friendship Dining, please click here.
DAYBREAK ADULT DAY CENTER CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAY SEASON
The holiday season was packed with celebrations for the clients at the Daybreak Adult Day Center! The festivities included carolling with the First grade students at Braden River Elementary.The school is adjacent to the center and the students love calling the clients their ‘grand-friends.’ In addition, the students delivered presents to the clients from their Holiday Wish List.
A special holiday party was also celebrated! The event featured the singing of holiday songs and special holiday crafts. “That was the nicest holiday party that I’ve been to in a long time,” said one of the clients. “I really enjoyed caroling and the slide show of everything we did this past year,” added another client.
The Manatee River Garden Club supplied materials to make a beautiful pine cone Christmas tree and a snowman door hanger. The clients were very excited to make these keepsakes. In addition, Bianca, who is also the Friendship Dining coordinator, sang popular holiday tunes that brought the spirit of the season to the event.
The Daybreak Adult Day Center provides a safe, secure environment with social, recreational, and therapeutic activities designed to meet the needs of older adults who live at home with a loved one but cannot be left alone while their caregiver works or attends to other responsibilities. The Daybreak Adult Day Center, which re-opened in December 2021 with 8 clients, has grown to over 55 clients. For more information about Daybreak Adult Day Center, click here.
The Wilson-Wood Foundation has been a consistent supporter of the Daybreak Adult Day Center. Their important funding helps ensure the highest level of programming and access to quality care for seniors in Manatee County. As the only licensed adult day center in Manatee County, the respite services we offer to our clients and their families is so very important. If you are looking for ways to support any of the PLUS programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, please click here.
The Manatee River Garden Club has been a consistent and valued supporter of the Daybreak Adult Day Center. Several times a month, the club brings a craft for the clients to do including at this year’s holiday party. Their dedication to our clients is an important part of the therapeutic activities that are vital to these seniors.
THE FOOD BANK OF MANATEE DISTRIBUTED HOLIDAY MEALS TO FAMILIES IN NEED IN DECEMBER
Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee distributed food to Manatee County families in need through the Food4Families program on Monday, December 19th. Food provided included holiday hams, canned vegetables, and all the fixings for local families to prepare a traditional holiday meal at home. “If you (The Food Bank of Manatee) weren’t here, I don’t know what my grandkids would do for Christmas dinner,” said one of the people in line for food.
“We wish to help make the holidays a little brighter for food-insecure families in Manatee County,” stated Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. “The outpouring of gratitude from those who received food at our Thanksgiving distribution was so very heartwarming. We know the needs remain high for the December holidays, and we are offering help and hope,” she added.
Impact of the December Holiday Food Distribution:
Families Fed: 500+
Holiday Meals Provided: 3,000+
Hope For the Holidays: Priceless
The need to feed local, food-insecure families, unfortunately, continues to grow. There are many ways people can help in our mission to #FeedManatee. People can volunteer their time. Volunteering just two hours a month can make a huge difference. Food donations are always needed. Hosting a food drive can support our mission. And finally, making a donation will support the services that support the community. Click here for more information on how you can help.
SAVE THE DATE: TROPICAL NIGHTS
The 29th Annual Tropical Nights Goes Hollywood, an event benefiting Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at The Grove Ballroom in Lakewood Ranch. Join us on the red carpet! All proceeds from Tropical Nights benefit the programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee and stay right here in our local community.
There are several sponsorship levels and ticket options for Tropical Nights 2023.
Date: Saturday, March 25, 2023
Location: The Grove, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Attire: Cocktail, Hollywood Glam
*Limited tickets will be available for the event
Tropical Nights Online Silent Auction
Dates: Friday-Saturday, March 17-25, 2023
Start Time: Friday, March 17th at 12pm
The online auction will feature a wide variety of packages on which to bid. Auction will end the night of the Tropical Nights event. The auction is online and available to everyone – not just event attendees, so bid early and bid often in support of our mission!