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Suncoast Holiday Toy and Food Drives

Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 10:35 AM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Across the Suncoast the holiday season is approaching and this is a collection of drives for toys and food. If you want to donate or need a helping hand, here are a few places you can go for your Thanksgiving and Christmas needs.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County are hosting Angel Tree Drives to help bring joy to the children and teens served by Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County.

Right now the organization is requesting organizations to step forward to host a drive or you can make a donation by purchasing gifts for Club families in need.

Click here.

Manatee County Salvation Army Turkey and Food Drive:

On the first day of November, The Salvation Army is reminding Suncoast residents that there is still time to donate a frozen turkey or side dish for its annual dinner for the needy.

Just like last year, this year’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner will have a COVID look and feel – instead of welcoming guests into the dining room, meals will be served in front of the facility, located at 1204 14th Street West, in to-go containers.

“Out of an abundance of caution for those who come to eat, the volunteers who serve the food and our staff who is preparing the meal, we feel it is just safer to hold the event outside again this year,” stated Maj. Juan Guadalupe who oversees The Salvation Army operations in Bradenton.

Along with turkey, the meal, which will be served from noon to 1 p.m., Thanksgiving day, will include mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, salad and pie.

Donations are being accepted for frozen turkeys, as well as nonperishable items such as stuffing, rolls and pies.

Manatee County Turkey Giveway

On Monday Nov. 22nd, The Salvation Army is hosting a free turkey giveaway.

The event begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Center for Worship Community Center at 5328 24th St. E., Bradenton, Florida.

The event runs until supplies run out.

Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee County’s Holiday Shoebox Drive:

Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee County hopes to collect 1,000 shoeboxes for volunteers and staff of Meals on Wheels PLUS to deliver to seniors throughout the holidays. These boxes are often times the only Holiday present seniors receive. This year it is especially important because of the isolation so many of our seniors are facing.

EXAMPLES OF ITEMS FOR A SHOEBOX:

• Chapstick• Flashlights (small) or Nightlight• Hand Lotion/Moisturizer• Holiday Trinkets (non-breakable)• Kleenex (small pocketbook size packages)• Mechanical Pencils• Notepads• Pens• Paperback Word Puzzles in Large Print (Crossword, Word Puzzles, Word Jumble)• Shampoo• Slipper Socks• Socks• Toothbrush• Toothpaste (small to medium size)

Items NOT to include: Razors, Candy, Candles, Breakables, Gift Cards.

• The Shoeboxes are wrapped — top and bottom separately.• Tissue is placed in the box.• Typically 10 items are placed in each box. A good place to purchase items is Dollar Tree• The box is closed and secured with an elastic.• A tag identifying if the box is for a male, female or neutral is attached under the elastic.

The wrapped and filled shoeboxes are then delivered to Meals on Wheels home-delivered meal clients by Meals on Wheels volunteers during the holiday season.

There will be an event held Dec. 4 from 4-6 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Elks Lodge4602 Lena Rd., Bradenton, FL 34211

Any individual who is not attending the event but wishes to donate wrapped and filled shoeboxes can drop them off to us any weekday before Monday, Dec. 6, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 811 23rd Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208.

Meals on Wheels of Manatee County Thanksgiving Dinner:

Meals on Wheels PLUS 0f Manatee has been distributing food to Manatee County families in need through the Food4Families program as part of our COVID-19 Emergency Relief efforts since March of 2020. TheFood4Families distribution on Monday, November 22nd will include frozen turkeys, canned vegetables, and all the fixings for local families to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home. Bayside Community Church will also be providing dessert for each family.

“During this season of giving, we are so happy to be able to provide Thanksgiving meals to Manatee County residents who otherwise would go without. With the rising costs of living we are all experiencing, many people are relying on Meals on Wheels PLUS and The Food Bank of Manatee for help this holiday season,” stated Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee.

The Thanksgiving Distribution will take place at Renaissance on 9th located at 1816 9th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205 beginning at 4 p.m. Quantities are limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since mid-March 2020, distributions have included bags of food to feed a family of five breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two or more days. Over 1.3 million meals have been provided through the Food4Families program since it started in March of 2020 in response to COVID-19 and distributions continue in 2021. Visit www.MealsOnWheelsPLUS.org for more information.

One of the PLUS programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, The Food Bank of Manatee is the largest hunger relief organization based in Manatee County. In the face of COVID-19, The Food Bank of Manatee is continuing to see an increase in the amount of food needed to help feed Manatee County families. Those who are able to donate to help those in need can make a gift online at www.MealsOnWheelsPLUS.org or by mail to 811 23rd Ave. East, Bradenton, FL 34208.

The City of North Port Adopt-N-Shop

With the holidays just around the corner, the City of North Port’s Social Service Division’s Adopt-N-Shop program is gearing up for the season.

The community program assists families in need with donated gifts for the holidays. This year, over 400 area children have been registered for the program. It’s been a difficult year for many, and we are seeing the results of that within our community.

Businesses, organizations, and residents who would like to “adopt” a family, may do so by registering with the Social Services Division beginning in November. Sponsors are asked to fill out and submit an application form here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdibD2aRiefIE65bxEriQ47OsGUUts-s4aqJUc4mkjsCdgVJg/viewform to request a family/families to “adopt.” The sponsor will then be provided with the number of children in the family, their ages, and genders.

For more information, please visit: https://www.cityofnorthport.com/SocialServices

Pasco County Tax Collectors:

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano announces that his office is sponsoring the following events to help the community during the 2021 holiday season:

  • Be a Santa to a Senior – collection boxes are located in each of the five tax collector offices.  Please stop by and donate a personal care item for a local senior citizen (i.e. toiletries, bath sets, greeting cards, stationary, stamps, etc.). Gifts will be collected up until December 14.
  • Toys 4 Tots – the five tax collector’s office locations in Pasco County are all drop-off sites for the Marine Corps League’s annual toy drive.  Toys for children of military personnel will be collected up to December 15.
  • Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive – The Gulf Harbors and Wesley Chapel offices will be Red Kettle donation sites on December 11 and December 18.  Please stop by between 8:30 AM and NOON either day to make a contribution to the important programs the Salvation Army provides throughout the year.
  • Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway – collection jars will be on display in December in each of the five tax collector offices in the county.  Donations made will help purchase fresh food for families in need this holiday season and into 2022.

Polk County Sheriff’s Charities:

Polk Sheriff’s Charities, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit charitable organization, is sponsoring a free turkey giveaway Saturday, November 20, 2021, at three Polk County locations. The organization will be distributing turkeys to families in need.

The turkeys will be distributed one per family, one per vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. No identification or pre-qualification will be required to receive a turkey.

Deputies will be at each location to hand out the frozen birds, which are in the 15-to-17-pound range. Up to 1,200 turkeys will be given away.

The locations and times where the turkeys will be distributed are:

East Polk: 9-10:30 a.m.

Church on the Hill, 1111 Scenic Hwy, Dundee;

**Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot south of the church from Old Scenic Hwy, then will be directed around the back of the church to the distribution point. Cars will then be directed to exit north onto Old Scenic Hwy towards Dundee.**

Central Polk: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lake Region High School campus, 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake;

**Cars will be directed to enter onto Cameron Road from U.S. 17, which turns into Gilbert Street, then onto Thunder Road, through the school parking lot to the distribution point, and back out onto Gilbert Street.**

West Polk: 1-2:30 p.m.

Lakes Church (AKA Church at the Mall), 1010 East Memorial Blvd, Lakeland;

**Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot from the westbound lane of Memorial at the intersection with Ingraham Avenue, and then will be directed to the rear parking lot of the church to the distribution point. Cars will be directed to exit westbound onto Memorial, or straight onto Ingraham Avenue.**

Sarasota County Government’s Breakfast with Santa:

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources invites children ages 12 and under and their families to the free, Breakfast with Santa event, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 18.

Enjoy breakfast, holiday music, and a visit by Santa in person at Laurel Park or by drive-through at Newtown Estates Park, and don’t forget to drop off letters for Santa! Register children ages 12 and under online before Dec. 10 for a toy giveaway.

Unwrapped toy donations for children ages 12 and under are being accepted through Dec. 13 at park and library locations throughout the county:

Parks:

  • Colonial Oaks Park, 5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota.
  • CoolToday Park, 18800 W Villages Parkway, Venice.
  • Englewood Sports Complex,1300 S River Road, Englewood.
  • Knight Trail Park, 3445 Rustic Road, Nokomis.
  • Laurel Park, 509 Collins Road, Nokomis.
  • Longwood Park, 6050 Longwood Run Blvd., Sarasota.
  • Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Avenue S, Venice.
  • Woodmere Park, 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice.

Libraries:

  • Elsie Quirk Public Library, 100 W Dearborn St., Englewood.
  • Fruitville Public Library, 100 Apex Road, Sarasota.
  • Gulf Gate Public Library, 7112 Curtiss Avenue, Sarasota.
  • Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library,4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice.
  • North Port Public Library, 13800 Tamiami Trail, North Port.
  • Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.
  • Selby Public Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota.
  • Shannon Staub Public Library, 4675 Career Lane, North Port.
  • William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Library, 300 Nokomis Avenue S, Venice.

Laurel Park is located 509 Collins Road, Nokomis, and Newtown Estates Park is located at 2800 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.

Sarasota County Sheriff Office:

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its fifth annual holiday toy drive benefitting the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program.

There are currently more than 1,300 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and as such, appointed a Guardian ad Litem.

Because the children range in age from newborn to 18 years old with varying personal needs, the sheriff’s office has chosen to focus the holiday initiative solely on toys and gift cards. They will not be accepting donations of clothing or stuffed animals. All donations MUST BE NEW AND UNWRAPPED.

The drive will kick off Wednesday, Dec. 1 and continues until Sunday, Dec. 12. Citizens can deliver donations to the agency’s headquarters located at 6010 Cattleridge Boulevard, Sarasota, every day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The initiative launched in 2017 when the agency moved into its new headquarters facility on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota. To date, with help from agency members, residents, local businesses and organizations, the sheriff’s office has donated more than 7,000 gifts including $20,000 in gift cards to the Guardian ad Litem program. Thanks to a partnership with the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety Department, public safety personnel are once again generously donating a holiday tree which will serve as the collection site for the toy drive. The tree will be delivered to the sheriff’s office headquarters on Monday, November 29 at 11 a.m.

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