Monday, August 29, 2011

Significant Storm Damage

It is not usually the likes of a Hurricane Irene that wreak havoc on the lives of those that come to Manna on Main Street; it is the everyday, unexpected events that can pile up and do the most damage.

I think of a woman who called us a few weeks ago. Her husband was ill, their home was in foreclosure, their electric had been shut off, they had no income, no car and no food. For someone with those significant challenges, there would seem to be no hope at all. While we were not able to help with all of their issues, there are some simple things we did do: we provided them with food, made them aware of other resources available, and perhaps most importantly we listened to them.

Sometimes just having someone to talk to, someone you can trust, can offer hope and relief, even in the midst of the most severe storms...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sowing and Reaping

As we begin to wind down on our summer Vegetable Basket Program, we remind ourselves that the fresh produce we enjoyed over the past seven weeks or so, was because of the hard work that was invested many months ago. The hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, zucchini, cantaloupes, string beans and corn that was given to families in need, was because of the commitment of care made when the ground was empty. We prepare now for another season, anticipating the harvest to come, knowing that same sense of caring is still with us...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rescuing Chickens

It happened this past Friday and the Friday before. We received a phone call from a random trucker. Seems he had some left-over cases of chicken from a grocery store delivery; he wanted to know if we could pick them up. In both instances, all we had to do was drive to Versacold (the cold storage facility in Hatfield), help unload the truck and bring the goods back to Manna. The haul from both deliveries was nearly 1,000 pounds of top-quality chicken.

To a large food distributor, the amount of food was trivial. It would have been just as simple to throw it in the dumpster. But what we find in the midst of large corporations is that there are caring individuals; people that will go out of their way to help out, to make a difference. We can decry the insensitivity of big business, and all too readily forget that they are made up of decent folks like most of us...

Monday, August 8, 2011

The $5 million gift

Manna on Main Street received an incredible gift last week, with the accompanying note:

To All the Good People at Manna on Main St.

Please accept this small gift along with my apology for the meager amount. I would like to help your cause more than this as I truly believe in you. However, I also, like so many these days, have been out of work since March/April of 2009. I have often thought of you for help in getting by, but thankfully have managed on my own thus far. After all, there are always people in far worse conditions than oneself. However, the important thing is knowing you are there, for all, any time. That in itself is reassurance which I cannot convey in words.

Thank you for being there.


There was a crumbled $5 bill in the envelope; a fortune...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Digital Meals

There can be the temptation for organizations to look to technology for answers in how to improve the delivery of their services. More foundations are asking nonprofits to become more sophisticated, and employ technology as a means to impact their operations.

We do take a serious look at the various tools available in which to streamline, to do things more efficiently and reduce costs. At the same time, by our nature, we are a very high-touch organization. At the core of what we do is feed people:
  • We set the plate before them
  • We engage them face to face
  • We listen to their stories; lives of frustration and hope
  • We encourage them, cheer them on
Sometimes, the low-tech, human touch is the ultimate in sophistication...