BRADENTON – Did you know that there are over 1,500 homeless children in the Manatee County school system, and at least 1,000 more that are not school-age or not reported? Recent statistics showed that almost 25% of families in the Bradenton/Sarasota/Venice area reported an inability to provide enough food for their kids, and these children are most at risk for the dangers of malnutrition. The Food Bank of Manatee is the largest hunger prevention organization in Manatee County and is the primary distribution point of food for the entire county. Now, more than ever, they need your help.
Stuff the Bus is your chance to make a difference. This collaborative initiative brings together many community partners, all playing their part to fight hunger right here in our community. The United Way of Manatee County, Manatee School District, Publix Super Markets, Tropicana, FM radio stations 106.5 CTQ and 92.1 The Coast, and Ring Power have united to continue this community tradition for the 5th consecutive year.
On Saturday, Nov. 23th from 9am until dark and Sunday, Nov. 24h from 9am until 3pm, Manatee County School District Buses will be parked at every Manatee County Publix Super Market, and customers will be given the opportunity to purchase food to donate. Food will be sorted, boxed and loaded into the buses by volunteers coordinated by the United Way of Manatee County. At the end of the weekend, the buses will be weighed at Tropicana scales for a final total and unpacked at the Food Bank of Manatee County.
Philip Brown, President of United Way of Manatee County said, “Fortunately, we live in a community that cares for one another. This initiative is a perfect example of how reaching out a hand to one can influence the condition of all. From the collaborated efforts of all of our partners and sponsors, to the folks donating their hard earned money by buying food, to the dedicated volunteers that give their time to see this project through, we are able to make a huge impact in the fight against hunger.”
Manatee County Schools Superintendent Rick Mills stated, “Stuff the Bus does more than meet the needs of many children and families in our community – it provides a very visible example of what good people can accomplish when they work together for a worthy cause.”
Last year, the Stuff the Bus event collected more than 130,000 pounds of food – this year, the goal is to collect 150,000 pounds. Volunteers are needed to help at Publix stores during the event. Those interested in helping should sign up to Doreen Ravagnani at (941) 748-1313 or email at DRavagnani@uwmc.net.
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