Sunday, December 20, 2009

Showing Up - December 19, 2009

We weren't sure what the day would bring. Snow was coming down, with predictions of more than 12 inches to follow. Walking into the church kitchen (next door to Manna) where we were to hold our annual Christmas party, Marty was there carving a turkey. He had arrived around 8:30 am with his apron and knife. As the snow continued to fall, other volunteers came on the scene.

Walking over to Manna, I saw a trail of cars pull in. It was the North Penn girls lacrosse team. They had prepared dozens of cookies and other treats for the party. The girls carried the goodies over to the church as other helpers continued streaming in.

When it finally came to serving time, more then 100 guests had filed in to share a meal. While we had thought we would scale down the activities because of the weather, our guests would have nothing of it. They stayed and talked, sharing their hearts and stories with one another...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Manna Moments

It was a typical "Manna Moment." A gentleman stopped in to drop off a financial gift. We thanked him for stopping by, and he explained that he had gotten such a nice thank you note the last time, that he wanted to drop off his check in person.

He was about to leave when he asked if there was anything else we needed. After thinking a moment, I mentioned that we were planning for our annual Christmas party on Dec. 19th. We are going to serve ham, I told him, and we didn't have any yet. If he could buy a ham for us, that would be great. Perhaps others would donate some before then and we would have enough to feed the crowd we were expecting. I was about to tell him more about the party, when the phone rang and interrupted us. When I finished and turned, he had already gone.

Less than an hour later he returned. He walked into our office with five huge hams, more than enough for our party. I tried to thank him, but be just smiled and walked out...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One-night Stands

That's our normal policy. If a single, homeless man needs a place to stay for the evening, we will put him up in a motel for one night, then move him along to a shelter (we refer them to Norristown or Pottstown, and if there's no room there, to as far as Philadelphia). We simply do not have the funding to sustain all the men out there who have no place to live.

But when Bobby (not his real name) showed up at Manna yesterday morning, we needed to do something different. We called a local motel and set him up for four nights. The weather forecast was calling for snow and freezing temperatures, and it can be nearly impossible to get into a shelter on the weekend. Too, he had made arrangements to move into another place in town, but it would not be available until Wednesday. To turn him out on the streets after just a night or two just didn't feel right. Besides, Bobby is a regular guest at our soup kitchen. He's brings to mind what an troubled, older brother might be... a good guy, but one who, for a variety of reasons has had difficulty getting his life together.

We have our rules and policies, but at times it's necessary to break them, simply because it's the right thing to do...