Young Changemakers Empty their Piggy Banks for Those in Need

The Giving Coast

Manatee and Sarasota County students combed between couch cushions and hunted through coin purses to find pennies and nickels to share with families facing food insecurity. By the end of the “Be a Change-Maker” Campaign, the youths had raised $16,000 for the non-profit Mayors Feed the Hungry Program. It took Publix employees two days to sort, count, and process all the coins, MFTHP Executive Director Scott Biehler said.  The students’ donations paid for hundreds of Publix $25 grocery gift cards, which will be distributed at food pantries throughout Manatee and Sarasota and counties. Many donations came from children who live in the very communities the food pantries serve. While food pantries are always happy to receive canned food and other non-perishables, it is a treat to be able to distribute Publix grocery gift cards. That allows families to buy fresh, healthy ingredients that they like and know how to cook. Many people who visit area food pantries are employed and just need a little help stretching their budgets during a lean period. Due to inflation and rising food costs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many households in Sarasota and Manatee counties to afford basic necessities. As the need is rising, donations are drying up, Biehler said. Volunteers are asking everyone with the means to show the same generosity as the area’s young people. Donors can help by visiting mayorsfeedthehungry.org/index.php/donate-money/.

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