Champions Circle – Winter 2018

A Newsletter Connecting our Champions
with Updates, Opportunities and Upcoming Events

A person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else:
synonyms: advocate · proponent · promoter · supporter · defender · upholder

Winter 2018

45 Years Logo

Dear Volunteer (aka our Champion),

On behalf of the Meals on Wheels PLUS staff and all the clients we serve, we are sincerely grateful for your contributions to our programs. With your dedication, we are able to feed seniors, children, and babies in Manatee County, as well as provide important services to our Community.

There are so many ways our volunteers impact our mission. We could not do what we do without each and every one of our volunteers who deliver hot meals to seniors, collect/sort food at The Food Bank of Manatee, smile to welcome visitors or members at the Enrichment Center, or participate in activities at Daybreak.

The past year was a “breakthrough” year for us as we made several strategic changes to focus on our core mission. As a result of those changes, we are able to continue to serve our clients, reduce overhead costs tremendously, and feed seniors, families, children, and babies. We are confident that we will continue to be a pillar of resources in the community.

We are so thankful for the volunteers and businesses that supported us during the food crisis after Hurricane Irma. With your help, we distributed food and made critical safety checks on hundreds of seniors.

Our vision would not be possible without the support from all of you, our Champions, our donors, and our volunteers, for whom we are truly appreciative. Thank you for the volunteer role you play and for being a part of our extended Meals on Wheels PLUS “family.” Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year!

From a grateful heart,

Maribeth Phillips
President & Chief Executive Officer
Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee

Volunteer Reunites Cousins
After 30 Years

James Orr, a seasonal volunteer, returned to delivering meals in September following his summer-long hiatus up north. He had two clients on his regular route with the same last name. He happened to ask John (his first delivery) if he had a relative named Jim. “Well, I have a cousin named Jimmy, but I haven’t seen him in 40 years”. When James got to Jim’s house, he asked Jim’s wife if her husband had a relative named John. She said “Yes, he has a first cousin named John, but they haven’t seen each other in 40 years”.

shaking hands

James, the volunteer, was able to facilitate a reunion after more than 40 years! Turns out, they had not seen each other since high school. Both men were delighted to learn they lived only a few neighborhoods away from each other.

What’s New
Meal-Delivery Volunteer Lanyards
Name tags are an important tool, adding a layer of safety for our clients. Once received, we are asking that all volunteer drivers wear their name tags when delivering their routes.

New Meal-Delivery Totes
Thank you Bank of America for the new meal-delivery totes with the updated Meals on Wheels PLUS logo.

Volunteer Shirts
Volunteer shirts will soon be available to order online.

Refer a Friend
Invite your friends and family to join you in delivering nutrition and smiles to Manatee County. Email Jackie at or call (941) 747-4655.

Safety Reminders

When delivering meals, please follow these guidelines:

  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold during delivery.
    Keep the ice bag on top of the milk at all times.
    Keep the tote’s plate on top of the meals at all times to keep the heat in.
  • Never leave meals unattended on a table, in a car or in a cooler.
    Leave meals with a person who can immediately take responsibility for the safety of the food.
    Leave meal in a cold working refrigerator accessible from the outside of house.
  • Never enter someone’s home when they are not home unless instructed by Client Services.
  • When in doubt, or deviating from the route sheet, call Client Services.

Volunteer Lounge
Visit our volunteer lounge at the Meals on Wheels PLUS facility before making your rounds to enjoy some fresh coffee, snacks, and meet some fellow volunteers.

Champion Spotlight
Grace Brown has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels PLUS for 20 years and has 2,735 lifetime hours. Her favorite part about volunteering is meeting the clients. She loves sharing a friendly hello & smile and getting to know them. Grace and her husband, Daniel, volunteered for Meals on Wheels in Maine before they moved down here 21 years ago. When Daniel passed away 5 years ago, Grace’s daughter Mary Jo started joining her on meal deliveries. Currently Grace and Mary Jo deliver twice a week.

Grace stays pretty busy. She also volunteers in several capacities at her church including being a sacristan and helping out at their food pantry.

We’ve Moved!
The Food Bank of Manatee has changed locations. The new non-perishable food facility is located at 3231 59th Drive East,
Bradenton, FL 34203.

Hurricane Irma
The Food Bank of Manatee provided emergency food and nutrition to 1,000 households in Manatee County after Hurricane Irma. Through the help of our community and dozens of volunteers, we distributed 52,748 pounds of fresh produce, baked goods, frozen meat, shelf-stable canned goods, rice and more than 10 tons of bottled water.

Volunteers food distribution

Volunteer Opportunities
Invite your friends and family to join you volunteering at The Food Bank of Manatee. Register online at
and a Volunteer Coordinator will contact you.

Volunteer For Meals on Wheels PLUS

Champion Spotlight
Mary Meyer has been dedicated volunteer at The Food Bank of Manatee for nearly 8 years. Since September of 2015 she has logged more than 800 volunteer hours. Mary may only be 4’ 7”, but her heart is bigger than most people recognize.

“Volunteering gives you the feeling of giving back.” Mary works on the emergency baby baskets. In 2017 she assembled 1,149. During the summer, Mary distributes weekend food sacks to school-aged children. She loves to see the expression on the kids’ faces when she hands them a sack. “I do it for the kids. I love these kids.”

Shelf-Stable Food Expiration Dates
With an exception of infant formula, if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident. Use the chart below to help safely store shelf-stable items at the Food Bank of Manatee and at home.

Canned ham (shelf-stable) 2 to 5 years 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator
Food Storage on Shelf Storage After Opening
Low-acid canned goods. Examples: canned meat and poultry, stews, soups (except tomato), spaghetti (noodle and pasta) products, potatoes, corn, carrots, spinach, beans, beets, peas, pumpkin. 2 to 5 years 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator
High-acid canned goods. Examples: juices (tomato, orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit); tomatoes; grapefruit, pineapple, apples and apple products, mixed fruit, peaches, pears, plums, all berries, pickles, sauerkraut and foods treated with vinegar-based sauces or dressings like German potato salad and sauerbraten. 12 to 18 months 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator
Jerky, commercially packaged 12 months N/A
Jerky, home-dried 1 to 2 months N/A
Hard/dry sausage 6 weeks in pantry 3 weeks refrigerated, or until it no longer smells or tastes good.
MRE’s (Meals, Ready to Eat) 120º F, 1 month
100º F, 1 1/2 years
90º F, 2 1/2 years
80º F, 4 years
70º F, 4 1/2 years
60º F, 7 years
Refrigeration will increase the shelf-stable storage times.
Tuna and other seafood in
retort pouches
18 months 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Meat or poultry products in
retort pouches
Use manufacturer’s recommendation on the package. 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Rice and dried pasta 2 years After cooking, 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

What’s New in 2018 at The Enrichment Center
2018 brought a new look to The Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th. Fresh paint and new flooring has really given the center a face-lift. The Bradenton Dream Center will be leasing the building after 1 pm for a faith-based, after-school program for children.

The Enrichment Center’s adjusted hours from 8 am–1 pm, and the fitness center open until 3 pm. There may be volunteer opportunities for intergenerational programs.

Enrichment Center Spotlight
Please join us in wishing Sue Taylor a Happy Retirement! Sue has been a friendly face in the Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th for the past eight years.

We will truly miss Sue, but we are so happy to see her begin this new adventure. Sue is moving to Alabama to be closer to her family and will enjoy spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.

Those of you who know Sue, are familiar with her dedication and passion as Activity Coordinator in the Enrichment Center. We celebrate Sue and know that, “The Best is Yet to Come”.

Volunteer Opportunities at Daybreak
Volunteering at Daybreak Adult Day Center is a rewarding experience. We utilize volunteers for the daily activities that we offer, including arts & crafts, reading, and music. Sometimes, it can be as simple as an engaging conversation with one of our clients.

Specifically, we have a need for volunteers to welcome clients and guests at the front desk, monitor the phones, check clients in & out, and assist with some basic clerical functions.

If you know someone who may be interested in volunteering at Daybreak Adult Center, please contact Jackie at

Champion Spotlight
Debbie Andreacci, affectionately known as “Dancing Debbie”, joins the Daybreak Staff and clients on Friday afternoon to listen to music and dance the afternoon away. It is one of the highlights of the week for the clients. “The Clients just love it. They will sing, clap, dance or just watch and reminisce about their younger days when they would put on their Sunday finest and head out to their local dance halls or sock hops,” says Debbie who has a special talent for getting everyone up, dancing and having fun. She says, “it’s a true blessing to witness the staff’s patience and dedication,” and she is honored to be considered part of the Daybreak team.

“Volunteering and working with seniors is a humbling experience but in actuality, I get more out of it than the clients do. It is a true gift that they allow me to be part of their lives.”

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