MANNA!: Response to Dinner Overwhelming
Moore Alliance Nourishing Neighbors, Amen! (MANNA!) had many reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day this year. This was the day the local soup kitchen sponsored its first community Thanksgiving dinner at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines.
"We were overwhelmed by the response of the community to this effort to reach out to the lonely and hungry members of our community," Don Barcus, president of the MANNA! Board of Trustees says. "Over 45 volunteers from the community spent part of their holiday serving dinner to our guests at Emmanuel. That does not count the Board of Trustee members who greeted guests or the many other volunteers who prepared the feast of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and a variety of desserts."
In addition to those who cooked and served the food, the community generously responded by donating the funds necessary to purchase the food, Barcus reports. Other volunteers provided transportation from several pick-up sites in the area. The leftover food was distributed to the prisoners at the Moore County Jail and a local shelter.
This was the first community Thanksgiving dinner, but it will not be the last, Barcus says. The Board of Trustees is already planning next year's feast.
MANNA! continues to grow and serve more hungry people in Moore County. The organization is currently serving lunches at two sites: Spaulding Chapel AME Zion Church in Taylortown on Tuesdays and Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in West Southern Pines on Wednesdays. MANNA! anticipates expanding to serve lunches three days a week by the spring.
In 2005, MANNA! served 600 free lunches; 5,100 will be served in 2006, and 9,500 are projected for 2007.
MANNA! is a local nonprofit organization funded by community-wide contributions, grants, and gifts. MANNA! is unique in that it is the only soup kitchen in Moore County that prepares nutritious meals to take into low income areas.
Currently there are 10 partner churches and several community teams that assist MANNA! in preparing lunch, delivering food to the feeding sites, serving the hungry who come to eat and cleaning up the sites.
In addition to free lunches, MANNA! makes available excess bread products, donated by Panera Bread, and personal toiletry items.
Churches, schools and community organizations are encouraged to become MANNA! partners.
For more information on this program, those interested may contact Don Barcus at 949-2921 or Operations Director, the Rev. John Roberts at 235-5271 or by mail at MANNA!, P.O. Box 1081, Southern Pines, NC 28388-1081.
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