BRADENTON, FL – For years, Goodwill Manasota has placed collection bins at each of its attended donation centers so that community members could donate non-perishable foods for those in need. The food has then been picked up by The Food Bank of Manatee and All Faiths Food Bank.
In April, in response to an urgent local need, Goodwill made its first delivery of nearly 2,000 pounds of food to Our Daily Bread, a community-driven food pantry and soup kitchen. Since that first delivery, Goodwill has brought two more, with food totaling 5,144 pounds.
This new friendship came about through the partnership of Goodwill and Turning Points. Located at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center in Bradenton, Turning Points provides a wide variety of services aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in our community. Goodwill has a Job Connection career services office on-site at Turning Points, where hundreds of Turning Points clients have been placed in jobs.
One important service available at Turning Points is lunch. Partner agency (and neighbor) Our Daily Bread serves a meal on-site each day. Our Daily Bread also has a self-serve food pantry at Turning Points, where families can select the groceries they need.
The impacts of COVID-19 have been particularly difficult for Our Daily Bread. The requests for assistance have climbed, the costs of serving meals increased due to the need to package meals in “to go” containers for COVID-19-related public health concerns, and the organization’s battalion of volunteers has not been available as community members stayed home for their own safety.
Our Daily Bread president Mark McLaughlin put out calls for help and was amazed at the response from local businesses - including Goodwill. Goodwill’s Director of Donation Development Donna Evans, who is responsible for coordinating the delivery of food donated at Goodwill to food pantries in Sarasota and Manatee counties, arranged for the deliveries of food to Our Daily Bread.
“I can’t possibly tell you about all of the generosity shown by the community to Our Daily Bread during this pandemic,” said McLaughlin. “One of the absolute highlights has been the partnership we have developed with Goodwill, who has already made three deliveries of canned goods in the last month to our food pantry, Loaves & Fishes. What a blessing – thank you, Goodwill!”