Sunday, November 29, 2009


A couple of weeks ago we held an off-site meeting to review what all we were doing on a daily basis. One of the issues that came up was, that to a large degree, what we are attempting to do is impossible.

Barry, our food service coordinator, strives to coordinate meals for seven days a week, with only a guess as to how many guests will show up to eat. Over the past year, over 16,000 meals were served.

Our director of volunteers, Liz, attempts to schedule, train and facilitate over 2,400 volunteers to serve the meals, stock the food pantry, clean refrigerators, seal letters, along with a variety of other duties. Volunteers range from age 5 to 85.

Nadja is Manna's case manager - unlike her peers, who often have a case load of 5 to 10 clients, attempts to meet the needs of over 400 households.

The words of Gale Baker Stanton inspire us onward:

To achieve all that is possible,
we must attempt the impossible.
To be as much as we can be,
we must dream of doing more...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A young man raises up his hands, interlocks his fingers and brings them down to rest on his head. There is a look of despair on his face. Something very wrong has happened and it's entirely out of his control. Crestfallen, he wonders what to do. The opponent's team has intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown, and his team has lost.

Earlier that day, unknown to him, a single mother stopped in at Manna on Main Street. She was unemployed, and did not have the money to pay her electric bill. She and her family would be cold, living in the dark, were it not for the good people in our community that provide us the funds to assist people in need.

How is it... where is it... that we decide to pour out our hearts, expend our passion, our energy...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turkey Special

We've been going back and forth with the good people from Merck. Each year they provide us with turkeys for our holiday basket distribution. We weren't certain when the birds would arrive, but we just learned they will be here on the Monday before Thanksgiving. They'll be delivering the usual number of turkeys: 648.

This sounds like a huge number, and it really is... but each year we manage to distribute all of the turkeys... by working with other local food pantries, churches and other religious organizations. Actually, this year, 648 turkeys may not be enough. Every food pantry in the area has seen dramatically increased needs, and more organizations are contacting us for help. We're still not certain how many families will need food baskets, not just for Thanksgiving, but for the Christmas holiday as well. Still, we remain confident that everyone will be fed...

Saturday, November 7, 2009


They would show up for the soup kitchen nearly every day. The mom and her kids - three girls and a boy, all under the age of nine. In the beginning they were a mess. Invariably one of the little ones was crying, while the others were spilling their drinks and dropping most of their food on the floor. On top of that, they weren't very good at cleaning up after themselves. And when there were take-home items for the guests, they were usually the first in line, taking more than their share. At the outset, it seemed like they were interested only in taking.

But over time, there has been a marked change. They have learned about sharing, and are truly thankful for the food they receive. What really highlighted that was an incident last week. Since the children are so young, the family receives free milk through WIC (a program for Women, Infant and Children). The mother had not been able to find her milk coupons for the past few weeks and eventually found them under her car seat. All the coupons were going to expire the next day, but even with four kids, they would not have been able to use all the milk themselves. So she went to WIC and redeemd the coupons and donated 9 gallons of milk to Manna. She and her daughters were beaming with joy as they carried in the milk.

It was another reminder for us that people who are receiving also respond when there is an opportunity to give...