We had to halt sit down meals in mid-March when the church leadership determined that services and other activities at the church would move on-line. The Mission Committee had already begun planning with Linda Thurston, our Second Helping Leader, on updating our operating procedures to ensure the health of our clients and volunteers. Currently volunteers come in three shifts - two mid-week to make and refrigerate sandwiches and prep the lunch/breakfast bags. The cook and assistant come Sunday afternoon to prepare and box the hot meals. The distribution volunteers bag the hot meal and lunch/breakfast bags for distribution by our Church Host, Reggie, in the parking lot to our clients. In March, 43 volunteers served 200 adults and 6 children a hot meal plus sack lunch and breakfast.
A tremendous amount of food is also going out through the Blessing Box. We are particularly grateful to Jonathan Mertz who noticed a damaged shelf one afternoon and to Nick Knicklebine who had repaired our box almost before we could blink. The First Presbyterian Church has adopted our box and members help stock it on Saturdays and the First Lutheran Church has established their own box further up Poyntz. Many of our members include a bag of groceries for the Blessing Box when they get their own food, and bring it by the church. We urge you to wear gloves when doing this if you are able. The Church also receives designated donations to allow us to purchase items for the Blessing Box and Second Helping.
This is a community wide effort. Ann Smit is our liaison to the Common Table to work with other meal and blessing box missions at other venues. As a tribute to Earth Day, 2020, the Mission Committee is working on a longer-term plan to convert our supplies to renewable sources in order to balance Manhattan's food needs, cost concerns, and sustainability.
With everyone working together, we are striving to ease the burdens of those who live on the edge in our community and who need extra help right now.
Again, thank you to the members and all of our food mission volunteers from the Mission Committee.