Friday, October 31, 2008

New Arrival

This week we had a new refrigerator delivered, courtesy of a grant from the Longacre Family Foundation. When the truck arrived, we found we would need to improvise a bit - the driver expected us to have a loading dock to unload the 500 pound unit. Since there was none, we made a few phone calls to our friendly neighbors. Town & Country Auto Parts sent over their fork truck, the Boys & Girls Club provided a few young, strong helpers, and Bob Fritz, one of our regular volunteers came over as well. In the pouring rain, each of them willingly pitched in, and less than an hour later we squeezed the refrigerator through the front door. This type of effort is so typical, where we call on caring members of the community, who really do the work to make our outreach possible.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Napkin Etiquette

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was volunteering for another organization, helping set up for a dinner benefit. The instructions from the staff member in charge were simple enough - set out plates, napkins and silverware. A mom and her daughter were walking around with the napkins, folding them in half, while my friend followed behind them with the silverware. They were about half-way finished when the staff member came back and began chastising them for not folding the napkins properly - they were supposed to have been folded corner-to-corner.

When I share this story with staff members and volunteers at Manna on Main Street they have to laugh because it's so contrary to how we do things here. We ask our helpers to do things like they do at home. We are not so concerned with how people are fed, but that everyone is fed. So the Tuesday volunteers might have a different method of serving than the Wednesday crew, but that doesn't matter. By doing it their own way, they have a greater sense of ownership. And in the end, everyone is satisfied.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ten Years After

From Jean...

I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Manna on Main Street.

Starting 10 years ago when I was very ill,my friend, Pete, introduced me to Dolly. I had moved into Lansdale, had 2 teenagers to raise while I was going threw a few years of Chemotherapy and spending weeks at a time in Philadelphia Hospital.

I wasn’t expected to live so the doctors slammed me with all kinds of chemotherapy. I was so sick and Dolly kept a close eye on me and my children. Manna helped so much with transportation to the hospital, picking up medications, bringing me food, helping pay bills. For awhile I was unable to get out of bed.

When I could I wanted so much to do something for Manna. I noticed that there was a lot of area I could garden. So much beautiful work is done inside; I wanted to make it beautiful outside. I was still on Chemotherapy so I had to avoid the sun. I usually gardened from 1 am till about 5:30 am, just me and my dog, Sparky.

I put flowers everywhere I could and even ended up putting them around the church.

Without the help of Mana, gardening therapy and the treasured friendship of Dolly. I could have never gone threw what I did, while raising my children (Who are doing great and have given me 5 grandchildren).

The doctors tell me that it is amazing I survived.

I know that without Manna, St. John’s Church, Dolly, friends, my children and especially all of your prayers; I would not be standing in front of this beautiful garden now, 10 years later.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Why would anyone be standing around watching a cow, waiting for it to "plop" on a particular piece of ground. The reason is simple - it was the Annual Cow Plop, a fund raising event sponsored by the Merck Sharpe & Dohme Federal Credit Union. They sell deeds for $10 each which are plotted out on a field. A cow is set free, and when the cow plops on a site, the winner receives 20% of the total proceeds (this year over $6,000). The rest of the funds go to Manna on Main Street and another local food cupboard to help with hunger relief. This is just another example of how our creative community finds ways to give back and make a difference in the lives of people in need.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Enough is Enougn (sometimes)

People come to us every day looking for financial aid. They need oil for their home, assistance with rent or utilities, or help with medical bills. Some folks come back to us more than once, and it can be difficult deciding when to stop helping someone. There are times, however, when $5 in aid can be too much (when able-bodied, able-minded adults continue to make bad choices) and when $1,000 can be not enough (when kids or the elderly are victims of circumstances). We have policies in place to provide rough boundaries, but policies and procedures can also be barriers - we still must listen with a caring heart... and an attentive mind.