Monday, October 25, 2010

Underground - Aboveground

Rob is the founder of "252 Underground" a youth ministry in Lansdale. As he was talking about the food drive they're having Manna on Main Street, he shared some of the misconceptions that some adults have about his outreach. Some believe it's a hang-out for gangs; a place where drugs and violence is prevalent; a place filled with undesirables.

It brought back memories of Manna's beginnings. There was a lot of resistance to the idea of a soup kitchen. Some thought it would attract the wrong kind of people; that it would be nothing but trouble. Frankly, there are times when troublesome individuals show up. But on the whole, what we see are people that are hurting. People looking for help, looking for some hope.

Manna is fortunate now, to be established, above ground. But like Rob, we often need to dig down deep, to help lift up those that need it the most...

Monday, October 18, 2010


Post-harvest would seem to be the season at hand. Dried corn chalks, tomato vines withered, pumpkins awaiting the carving knife.

But we are always planting. Looking for opportunities to grow our service, change lives, make a lasting difference. There is simply too much need to be content, to wait for spring to arrive...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time Out

Sometimes, we all need a time-out. To be told to sit down, take a break, think about our actions.

Our guests are just like us. They act out, ignore the rules, try to take control.

So we tell them to take some time off from Manna; a couple days, a week at most. When they return, all is forgotten. They're happy to be back, we're happy to see them again.

We care too much about them to just let them do what they want. Even for folks who have fallen on hard times, it's important for them to be reminded about respect, responsibility...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Meals

One would think that the soup kitchen at Manna offers a very dismal atmosphere. After all, most of the individuals that eat there are dealing with significant life challenges: homelessness, failing health, dismal job prospects, loneliness.

While all that may be true, there is also a positive energy that flows around any table where people are gathered to eat. Life stories are shared, and there is comedy and laughter to be found in both the good and bad experiences. The volunteers that serve are a real treasure. They share their lives as well that at times came mirror the circumstances of those at the table. And there are also staff members that will sit at the table - listening to the guests, sharing their concerns and connecting with them at a deep, human level.

There are times when the meals are quiet, reflecting a contemplative mood. But more often than not, there is more joy in the meals served at Manna than could be found in any "Happy Meal" anywhere...