MANNA!: Feeding Moore County's Hungry
On Sept. 28, 2005, the dream of starting a soup kitchen in Moore County became a reality. MANNA! (Moore Alliance Nourishing Neighbors, Amen!) served its first lunch at Trinity A.M.E. Zion church in West Southern Pines.
In the first year of service, MANNA! served more than 4,000 free lunches and added a second "hospitality" site at Spaulding Chapel A.M.E. Zion church in Taylortown.
Approximately 8,400 people in Moore County live below poverty level. This means that by the time a family of four pays housing, utility and transportation costs, there may not be much money left for food. That's where MANNA! comes in with its mission to help feed the hungry and poor in the county.
Lunches are served each week at Spaulding Chapel on Tuesdays and at Trinity A.M.E. Zion on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or until all prepared lunches are given out. An average of 70 lunches are served each day.
A large number of volunteers from across Moore County have contributed to MANNA!'s success. Support organizations that both cook and serve lunches include Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Page Memorial Methodist Church, Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. James Lutheran Church, Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, Pinehurst Trace group and Ingram Branch Presbyterian Church.
In addition to partner churches and organizations, community members have also stepped forward to prepare food and serve meals at both feeding sites.
As soon as Panera Bread opened its doors in this area, it, too, became MANNA!'s partner. On two different days each week, MANNA! volunteers pick up Panera's excess bakery items and distribute them at the two hospitality sites the next day.
"This has become a real hit with MANNA! clients," says a spokesman.
MANNA! members raise operating funds in a variety of ways. They use mailings to solicit donations and organize special events to help meet the goal of helping to end hunger in Moore County.
Thirty-three sponsors and 83 runners took part in the MANNA!-in-Motion 5k race this past June and raised $8,000 for the organization.
MANNA! is a registered nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporation, which means that all donations are tax-deductible. MANNA! is also a member of the Food Bank of North Carolina. This allows MANNA! partners to obtain food from the Moore County Food Bank at minimal cost to help defray meal expense when they cook and serve.
In its effort to increase number of days and locations of service, MANNA! needs more volunteers.
"You may arrange for a speaker to address your church, organization or club to explain how to get involved in this important and rewarding community-wide effort," says the spokesman.
To find out more about MANNA! or to request a speaker, call Operations Director John Roberts at 235-5271 or President Don Barcus at 949-2921.
Donations may be sent to MANNA!, P. O. Box 1081, Southern Pines, NC 28388-1091.
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