Bradenton Kiwanis Gives $20,000 to Local Charity Organizations

For the past eight months, the Bradenton Kiwanis Club has awarded one member per month a check in the amount of $2,000 to $3,000 to donate to the charitable organization of their choice. The requirements were that the organization must be a 501(c)(3) and it must meet the mission of Kiwanis.

Each time a member participated in a luncheon meeting (via Zoom or in-person), volunteered for a service project, or participated in a committee meeting, they earned one entry into the drawing.

This resulted in the following donations:

  • $2,000 to The Manatee Performing Arts Center – given by Sharon Barhorst
  • $2,000 to Manatee County Rural Health – given by Janene Amick
  • $2,000 to Manatee County Habitat for Humanity – given by Barbara Duncan
  • $2,000 to Easter Seals of Southwest Florida – given by Kent Jimison
  • $3,000 to The Salvation Army – given by Kelly French
  • $3,000 to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee – given by Ann Marie Welty
  • $3,000 to The Police Athletic League – given by Karen Carpenter

There will be one final drawing for the month of September.

About Bradenton Kiwanis

Since 1922, Bradenton Kiwanis has built a reputation for seeking out what needs to be done to help the children in our community and working together to make each project a reality. Our members are community leaders who proudly believe our organization offers the absolute best opportunity to get engaged in the community and make a positive difference.

Bradenton Kiwanis meets every Tuesday at Kiwanis Hall (2nd floor of the Manatee Players – 502 3rd. Avenue West, 2nd Floor Bradenton, FL, 34205) from 12:15 to 1:15 pm. Guest are always welcome. 

The club is currently accepting new members. For more information, visit BradentonKiwanis.org or contact sharonb.bradentonkiwanis@gmail.com

Pace Center For Girls Prepares For Their Annual Lucky Duck Race Fundraiser

Quacky’s back in Manatee County and ready to make a splash for Pace Center for Girls!  On August 28th, the 12th Annual Lucky Ducky Race for Pace presented by Carl Reynolds Law will be racing at least 25,000 rubber ducks down the Manatee River for prizes.  You could drive home in a Jeep sponsored by Firkins Automotive (2 year lease or $5,000) or win weekly dinner for 2 at Anna Maria Oyster Bar for a YEAR!  In celebration of Pace’s 31st Anniversary in Manatee County, prizes will be awarded for the first 31 ducks to cross the finish line.

Everyone can join the fun with adoptions starting at only $5.00.  Family Quack Packs of ducks are available for only $20, or you can adopt an entire Flock of 30 ducks for $100.  

All adoptions make a difference, from providing school supplies for a $5.00 adoption to counseling for $100.  Pace girls have made the personal choice to come to school year-round to catch up academically and strive to meet goals, learning real-life skills that will provide them with a bright future.  The Lucky Ducky Race for Pace reminds them that the community is cheering for them alongside the all the rubber ducks adopted for the race.

Pictured is Zykeria. A proud 2021 Pace Graduate!

We race ducks to raise funds and awareness for Pace Center for Girls, in a way that involves the entire community.  Our resources help us find the great in every girl, like Zykeria (picture of grad throwing cap in drop box)

Zykeria is a proud 2021 Pace Graduate!  At Pace, Zykeria focused academically and earned 22.5 credits, plus served on the Girls’ Leadership Council.  But that’s only part of the story – she also worked part time through the pandemic at a local retirement home, gaining valuable experience in the medical field.  Her plans after Pace include the Patient Care Program at Manatee Technical College, with the future goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.  

We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Zykeria and all our graduates.

August 28, 2021 is the Lucky Ducky Race for Pace presented by Carl Reynolds Law, approximately 11:00 am (tidal dependent) at Caddy’s Bradenton

Don’t delay – Adopt your duck TODAY:  www.luckyduckyraceforpace.com

Pace Info:

Pace Center for Girls envisions a world where all girls and young women have power, in a just and equitable society. Founded in 1985, Pace provides free year-round middle and high school academics, case management, counseling, and life skills development in a safe and supportive environment that recognizes and deals with past trauma and builds upon girls’ individual strengths. Dedicated to meeting the social, emotional, and education needs of girls, Pace has a successful and proven program model that has changed the life trajectory of more than 40,000 girls and is recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for girls in need. For more information on Pace Center for Girls, visit www.pacecenter.org

The Women behind Feeding Empty Little Tummies

Kim Bailey has been living in Manatee County with her family for over 20 years and has dedicated much of her time to community involvement helping children. Kim stated, “I was either helping kids at church raise funds for mission trips or serving on committees for students going to National FFA Convention.” While attending a family reunion out of state, Kim received a phone call from a friend urging her to meet with an amazing lady named Jane Evers. Mrs. Evers is the foundress of a non-profit organization called Feeding Empty Little Tummies (FELT) in 2010 that she operated from her dining room table whose mission was providing meals to food-deprived children at three schools in Manatee. 

Jane Evers. Mrs. Evers is the foundress of a non-profit organization called Feeding Empty Little Tummies (FELT)
Kim Bailey, FELT

Kim met Mrs. Evers in October 2013 and kindly remembers her as a “small-statured woman with both a large heart and personality.” Mrs. Evers was losing her battle against cancer and needed a caring individual that would oversee FELT and continue the undertaking of providing meals for homeless students.

Kim began learning about FELT from Ms. Evers and confessed to being unsure if she was “right for the job” to run the charity, however, “with the realization of how many hungry kids lived within my community and Mrs. Evers commitment, I knew I had to find some way to help!” Sadly, Mrs. Ever passed away on December 31, 2013.  Fortunately, Kim was able to continue her predecessor’s goals for FELT.

Feeding Empty Little Tummies has partnered with Manatee School District to identify food-insecure students and are placed in a program that provides them with meals for the duration of the weekend. There are an estimated 2,200 registered homeless students, which does not include the fluctuating number of food insecure students. At the FELT warehouse located in Palmetto, two employees and up to 70 volunteers are tasked with filling backpacks with meals and delivering them to designated schools. Kim explained, “Each student in the FELT program is supplied with a backpack containing two breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks of shelf-life food at the end of the school week because of the possibility of these children not having access to refrigeration due to being homeless, staying in hotels, or living with extended family members.”

FELT’s mission is to ensure there isn’t a single hungry child in the community and Kim noted “Students in Manatee County are blessed with free breakfast and lunch, but once they leave school on Friday afternoons, they could face more than 63 hours without nutrition on the weekends.” Students that are provided with weekend meals return to school on Monday morning “vibrant and ready to learn”.

FELT receives funding from grants, private donations, and coordinates with Sysco West Coast-Wholesale Restaurant Food Supplies to order food in bulk. Kim stated, “we are good stewards of the money and donations given to FELT, because students deserve the comfort of an honest organization to provide them with nutritious meals.” FELT is diligent about using social media and their website to network and has worked with community leaders, volunteers, and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce for fundraising and food drives. During the last week of 2021 school year, FELT provided 966 students with 6 meals each. 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many non-profits, public, and private sector to make many adjustments to fulfill the needs of the community. FELT suspended their operations for a week at the beginning of the pandemic and schools closed for the remainder of the school year, Kim stated “FELT immediately started to receive several phone calls from concerned principals and teachers asking us to provide them with the meal filled backpacks they would personally deliver to hungry students.” Due to privacy reasons, FELT cannot have access to students’ addresses, but educators do, so FELT made changes in their program to continuing providing 300 students a week with meals. Sysco West Coast faced the problem of perishable items and produce spoiling because of restaurant shutdowns and to avoid wasting potential meals and donated the food to FELT, which leads the organization to also become a food bank. Combined with FELT inventory and food supplied by Sysco, Kim highlighted “FELTs open their doors as a food pantry for 2 weekends and were able to feed 3500 families in our community!” 

Jane Evers dream of Feeding Empty Little Tummies began on a dining room table in 2010 providing a food program for three schools, and under Kim Bailey by 2021, has evolved into providing 350,000 meals annually to students in any of Manatee’s schools, a food bank, and feeding families.

If you would like to volunteer, donate, or learn more about FELT, please visit their website https://feltinc.org/, or email FELT at info@feltinc.org.

FELT is also hosting a golf tournament on Saturday, October 16th honoring Patricia Snyder if readers are interested to sign up.

14th Annual Fire Charity Fishing Tournament with first ever weekend festival was a great success

This past weekend the 14th Annual Fire Charity Fishing Tournament realized its vision of becoming a weekend-long fishing festival.  The Palmetto location of Riverside Park was a perfect venue to showcase a variety of local musicians, vendors, and activities for all to enjoy making the event a success.

The junior division fished Saturday from the Green Bridge Fishing Pier with over 120 kids participating.  The offshore teams were able to get an early start Friday night while the inshore and spearfishing teams were part of a shotgun start in the mouth of the Manatee River with beautiful weather early Saturday morning.  The teams were challenged by weather at times over the weekend but it didn’t stop them from producing some incredible results.

Events like this take a lot of work to plan, organize, and execute.  Erik’s Nicholson, local fireman and tournament founder, has a passion and dedication for this event that is contagious spreading from the participants and crowd to the vendors and volunteers.  The sponsor list is filled with many great businesses, the volunteers were plentiful and organized, the crowds were large and family-friendly.  The new venue required a few last-minute changes and extra work but everyone pitched in to make it a success.  Being the humble host that he is, Erik took every opportunity to thank his volunteers and sponsors who went above and beyond to ensure the weekend’s success.  The results of everyone’s contributions have made the Fire Charity Fishing Festival rise to become one of the premier regional fishing events. 

Erik Nicholson shares a moment on stage with the crowd and kids.
Some of the young participants celebrating others catches during the weigh in.

The “vibe” of the tournament is best understood by Erik’s words while describing the inshore comradery and sportsmanship, “Being our first year as a festival brought a lot of new challenges, but we were blown away by how each challenge was overcome; Above all, I was blown away by the sportsmanship and integrity of our participants. With over 500 participants who fished the event, for the first time ever one of our folders disappeared which had us miss one of our winners. When we found this mistake, we went to the team and let them know and what I was met with blew my mind. Captain TJ Stewart and Captain Trevor Hoff went back on stage together to share the spotlight. These competitive teams’ fish “against” each other and have been neck in neck, year after year; to see them come together and congratulate each other with no ego, or hurt feelings was one of the best things I’ve ever seen at this event in 14 years.”  

Events like this are important to the community for many reasons. People can come out and collectively enjoy some of our beautiful natural assets, mingle with friends, meet new friends, support local vendors, engage in some fun competition, and support a great cause.  

“We are still in the process of determining the final proceeds, but I can say without a doubt, we will be once again able to fund the Children’s Burn Foundation of Florida’s attendees and do some other amazing things for our community,” said Erik on the funds received for the charity.  It’s clear that no matter what names you read in the results below, the real winner was the community and those that are directly helped by the funds raised.  

Check out this video of the tournament’s start filmed and edited by MakSchu Productions, LLC.  MakSchu Productions “main focus is creating designs, animations and promotional videos for locally run companies. These videos will help businesses market their missions, and reach out to the community. They set out to start a company in Sarasota, FL to better serve local businesses in branding and promoting themselves in an affordable and professional way.”  

Tournament Results

Below are each team’s captains name and their boat or team name

Junior Division

1st Place: Cooper Duquette, fishing on boat Tipin Pigs

2nd Place: Devin Calderon, fishing on boat SaltyBonz

3rd: Place: Layla Turner, fishing on boat Lil Grass

Spear Division

1st Place: Ben McCann, fishing on H2O StorPro 

2nd Place: Mike Jeanes, fishing on boat Team Trident

3rd Place: Logan Reiber, fishing on boat Pokin’ Holes

Inshore Division

1st Place tie: Trevor Hoff, fishing on boat Team Hoff Enterprise powered by Star Fish Co

1st Place tie: T.J. Stewart, fishing on boat Richardson Stinton Roofing powered by Skeeter Boats

2nd Place: Nick Cardieri, fishing on boat Secret Sauce

3rd Place: Josh Bibler, fishing on boat Team Naturdays

Offshore Division

1st Place: Randall Langley, fishing on boat Gotcha

2nd Place: Paul Christi, fishing on boat Jumbo Shrimp

3rd Place: Danny Pool, fishing on boat Team Seaviche

This set of photos were taken by tournament volunteer, Heidi Scott, who does an excellent job capturing some great moments and shared with Manatee Herald for this article.  Heidi has been the face behind the camera at this event since it started 14 years ago.  She has become very close to the committee and many of the fishermen and their families.

Below are some additional moments capture by Manatee Herald staff.