News Section: Community
Grand Challenge Nets 21 Tons of Food, $39k in Cash for Food Bank
MANATEE COUNTY – The Grand Challenge, Manatee County’s September food drive for the Food Bank of Manatee, raised more than 21 tons of food and nearly $39,000 to help the Bank feed local families.
Organizations, clubs, businesses and schools around Manatee County in September raised 43,025 pounds of food and nearly $38,720 – including a $10,000 contribution from Entre Nous – to help restock the Food Bank of Manatee’s shelves in September. Official totals from the food drive will be finalized in October.
Food Bank officials were overwhelmed by the community response to the Grand Challenge, and said proceeds greatly helped feed Manatee County families. Food Bank Director Cindy Sloan said the Grand Challenge has gone a long way to raise awareness for Manatee’s significant hunger issues. Businesses that never before participated in local food drives are giving like never before. Sloan aims to ask those businesses to participate in food drives in the future when needs are great.
“The community’s response has been heart-warming,” Sloan said. “I hope people realize exactly how much this helps feed hungry kids and families throughout our county. We truly appreciate all the help.”
Though the Challenge ends Sunday Sloan asked for businesses and groups to continue their fundraising efforts into the fall when major fundraisers begin. October is typically a slow month for donations, but the Food Bank’s wildly popular Empty Bowls event will be held Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Oct. 19.
Food Bank officials use the cash donations to buy food, sometimes as low as 9 cents per pound, so more than 100,000 pounds of food has been distributed as a result of the Grand Challenge so far. But more is needed because there’s such great need in the community.
The Grand Challenge began in August when word began to spread about the Food Bank’s shortage at the end of the summer. County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and School Board member Julie Aranibar launched the “Grand Challenge” urging local groups to raise 1,000 pounds or $1,000 or a combination of the two for the Food Bank.
Nearly 150 local groups, businesses and organizations participated in the challenge. All of the Food Bank’s collection barrels were distributed to businesses that requested them.
Anyone interested can obtain a Food Bank food collection barrel by calling (941) 747-FOOD. Food Drive Kits can also be found at the Food Bank’s website.
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