Goodwill Manasota partners with local food banks
Food collection at Goodwill locations will help to feed the hungry in Sarasota and Manatee counties
SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL - While Goodwill Manasota is well known for accepting donations of gently-used items from the community and selling those goods in its retail stores – with revenues funding its mission of changing lives through the power of work – it's not just items like clothing, home goods, books, sporting goods and electronics being accepted.
For many years, Goodwill has placed food barrels at all donor doors at its stores as well as at its attended donation centers in Sarasota and Manatee counties; the beneficiaries are The Food Bank of Manatee, owned and operated by Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, and All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. In 2019, Goodwill collected 81,221 pounds for All Faiths Food Bank and 49,593 pounds for The Food Bank of Manatee County, for a total of 130,814 pounds; in 2020, a total of 144,396 pounds was collected at all Goodwill locations.
Each year, the food collection totals have increased as community members have realized they could drop off gently-used goods and nonperishable food items in one convenient stop. The food collection has grown over the course of many years into a significant annual effort.
"While our mission is more focused on the career services side of social services, we felt compelled to assist when we learned just how prevalent hunger is in our communities," said Donna Evans, Goodwill Manasota's director of donation development. "We have numerous locations that are convenient and fully staffed – it is both easy and incredibly fulfilling for us to partner with our area food banks to help our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table."
The food banks accept dry and canned food donations. Most-needed items are peanut butter, canned items such as soup, fruit, vegetables, stew, fish and beans, pasta, rice and cereals. Community members are asked not to include any items that are older than 2-3 years, opened or used, dented/damaged, meant for decorations or displays, or that do not have a label.
The Food Bank of Manatee is a PLUS program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. The Food Bank of Manatee provides nutritional assistance and caring supportive services to individuals in need throughout Manatee County by distributing food to nonprofit agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, and churches. In 2020, Meals on Wheels Plus served over 267,000 home-delivered meals, provided over 780,000 meals through Food4Families, and distributed over 3 million pounds of food by The Food Bank of Manatee.
Together with its partners, All Faiths Food Bank provides healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. All Faiths Food Bank, the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, serves individuals in need through its programs and member network that includes nearly 200 human services organizations, schools, faith-based and secular organizations, and other groups that serve the community. In 2020, All Faiths distributed nearly 22.5 million pounds of food, provided 60% more meals than the previous year, and rallied in the face of a 53% increase in new clients at food distributions due to the pandemic.
“We are thankful for community partners who are committed to helping our neighbors in need, just as we are,” said Ryan Beaman, senior director of operations for All Faiths. “By placing food collection barrels at its many locations, Goodwill has made it easy and convenient for members of the community to assist All Faiths Food Bank as we work to provide nutrition assistance to all who are in need.”
“We are grateful for the ongoing partnership we have with Goodwill Manasota as we continue to see an increased demand for food in our community,” said Amy Towery, Vice President of Development for Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. “As an independent food bank and the only food bank based in Manatee County, we rely 100% on the support of the community to meet the needs of food insecure babies, children, families, and seniors.”
The organizations plan to continue the food collections at Goodwill locations. For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.