Monday, January 31, 2011

no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes

That's about the ratio - 8 nos for every 1 yes. On average, we receive about 100 requests for financial help each month, and the dominating response is no. The reasons are varied:

  • no, you're outside our service area
  • no, we're temporarily out of funding
  • no, we don't cover car repair bills
  • no, you didn't tell us the truth about your finances
  • no, even if we pay all you bills now, next month you will be in the same situation
It is frustrating for the those that come for help. For the most part, their needs are genuine, and we are often their last hope for support. For us, it is especially difficult denying them aid for necessary items like heating oil, knowing it's not a luxury item, but a matter of staying warm. Still, we are all thankful for the times we can say yes...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who is Filled?

When someone in need is served a meal, who benefits... the one serving or the one being served.

Certainly the person receiving the meal is grateful. For many of the people that find their way to Manna, the food they receive is their primary meal for the day. Without us, they may not starve, but they would undoubtedly suffer.

But for the more than 1,500 volunteers that come through our doors, it could be argued that they are the ones most satisfied by the experience. The joy of making someone's day brighter is powerful, not just in providing a meal, but in sharing a word of encouragement or leading the way to laughter. Volunteers often wait for months, just to have the opportunity to serve.

At the end of each day, everyone is filled...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to the Routine

Life at Manna has returned to normal (the term normal difficult to define).

Only a few weeks ago it was:
  • gathering food for holiday baskets
  • coordinating parties and events
  • distributing Christmas gifts
Today, a typical day includes:
  • arriving early to put on the soup and meal
  • scheduling and training volunteers that want to serve
  • fielding phone calls
For the people we serve, it is also a return to their "normal":
  • thinking about food for the next meal
  • ignoring the thermostat, because they're out of oil
  • wondering if the prescription will ever be filled
The new normal is often easier for us. Less running around, consuming less food, simplifying our lives. For those in need, no necessarily so...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unwrapping Gifts

Over the holidays, you may have had the experience of watching the opening of gifts. There are probably a numbers of ways to go about it, but with a child, there's usually just one way: tearing madly to find what is hidden beneath the wrapping.

As we move into the gift that is the New Year, we proceed with the same energy, the same excitement, tearing away the wrapping to discover what lies beneath, with the hope of finding new ways to grow in serving our community...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Body Shop

- A light dusting of snow covered the ice; the car slid across the road and hit a tree

- Distracted by the argument with a loved one, she didn't see the stop sign...

- He normally looks left and right, but was exhausted from the day's work; it was too late before he spotted the small pickup truck

And so the body shop is in business. Nature exerts it's influence, people make mistakes, and someone needs to make the repairs. This is not to discount the need for formal driver training or safety instruction, it is just the reality of the world we live in. Thankfully we have body shops.

It makes me think about the role on Manna. To a large degree, we are like a body shop. Things happen to people, sometimes beyond their control, other times well within their span of influence. No matter. When they hit a patch of ice, have life difficulties or just make poor decisions, we are there to help them.

We too, are all for preparedness, for taking responsibility for our lives, and giving people tools to plan for their future.

Still, there is always a need for a body shop...