Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Alike Than Not

We (staff, volunteers, random folks who come through our doors) don't always dress the same, but it seems we do attract a certain type of individual. People who are kind and thoughtful; those who tend not to ask, "What's in it for me?" but, "What's in me for others?" No matter what you wear, perhaps you're the kind of person who would stop in...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Richie (not his real name) is a young man who eats at Manna on a regular basis. He is always polite and appreciates what we do. Richie is a hip-hop artist and tells us he's on the verge of signing a music contract. He recently passed along a CD of his work for us to listen to. The language used in the songs might be offensive to some, but what emerges from the lyrics reflect the earlier hard times of his life: being a witness to a murder, having a nervous breakdown and a spiraling downward into the world of drugs. What is not so evident in his music is what he carries in his heart after his emergence from a troubled life: his faith in God, love for family and a striving to remain humble and yet focused on his goals.

It is often easy for us at Manna to look at a person as we see them today, and miss the things that have been layered in their lives. That is why we do our best to listen to their entire narrative before we determine how we can serve them. And for those who a reluctant to share their stories, we feed them as best we can...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cats Sited

Sitecats seems to be everywhere. That's one of the many reasons why they were chosen as the Small Business of the Year by the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce.

More than eight years ago, John Ralston, Sitecats Chief Excitement Officer, approached Manna on Main Street. He said, "you need a web site, so I'm going to build one for you... no charge." Since then, John and his team has helped us maintain our site and keep us connected to the community. Not only does Sitecats do good work, they do good works.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fear - Despair - Hope

It would be easy enough for us to speak to the lowest common denominator in what is going on in society today. There is plenty of fear and despair to go around, and it would seem a soup kitchen would want to talk about how bad things are in order to shore up support for their cause.

Instead, we focus on the hope: the goods things that are happening around us, to show that in the midst of difficult times, there are positive events and caring people that lift us up.

Last weekend, the musical trio Braided Rain performed a benefit concert for Manna. It was their debut, and possibly their only concert. Their interest was in doing what they love to do... sharing their voices, and at the same time helping a cause that they believe in. Our hope for Madi, Caris and Erin is that they will find avenues to bring their music to others, but if they decide otherwise, we are certain they will continue to share the gift of themselves...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The basement of Manna is where we try to store most of our nonperishable food. If you were to walk down the steps today you would notice an immediate problem. No, there is not a shortage of food... there is a shortage of storage space. Yes, there are shelves with areas designated for fruit, vegetables, tuna, etc. But in front of those shelves are boxes and bags of food, piled up almost to the ceiling.

A couple of weeks ago there was an issue with water due to heavy rainfall, and we lost some food because we were not able to get it off the floor. To help alleviate the space dilemma, we have some off-site storage, but moving the goods back and forth is not very efficient. In the near term, we simply have to live with the situation, but we remain optimistic that we will find a newer, larger facility that will provide us enough space to store and distribute all the food this community so generously shares...