MANNA searches for weekly volunteers

This is Mark Peilen, a MANNA volunteer who delivers food to people who have difficulty cooking for themselves.This is Mark Peilen, a MANNA volunteer who delivers food to people who have difficulty cooking for themselves.

MANNA is a non-profit company that provides a daily meal, Monday through Friday, to people who are disabled or otherwise unable to cook for themselves. They provide this service to the greater Gadsden region.

On a daily basis, MANNA delivers 225 meals. Many of these are specially prepared for specific dietary needs, such as diabetic, low sodium or pureed.

The meals cost $3.35 each. Depending on their financial situation, clients pay full price, half price or nothing. 

Currently, MANNA is searching for more volunteers. 

Regular volunteers work only one day a week, every week, driving one of the 22 different routes to deliver the food to the clients. It typically takes an hour to an hour and a half. They pick up the food from Riverview Regional Hospital, where it is prepared by Marson’s Health Care. At the end of their route, they return to Riverview with yesterday’s insulated trays, which are what the food is delivered on. 

According to Duyen Stokes, director of the program, volunteers offer more than just the food.

“Our volunteers offer friendship. They see them {the clients] every week,” said Stokes.

They also provide a valuable safety check. 

“We had one volunteer find her client fallen down,” said Duyen Stokes. “He had been there since the night before.”

In 2013, Manna delivered a total of 48,685 meals at a cost of $163,000.

A large part of MANNA’s financial needs are met by donations. Riverview Regional Hospital provides the program with office space and telephones and alleviates the program’s need to pay rent, light or phone bills. 

As a United Way program, MANNA also receives some city funding, and they qualify for FEMA funding.

Despite that, a large number of their donations come from local businesses and individuals. 

For individuals who are seeking MANNA’s help with a daily meal, they can apply over the phone. 

Unfortunately, there are wait lists, which are longer in some areas than in others.

For more information about volunteering, donating or applying, call 256-543-5876. 

 
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