Sunday was more than just the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Manna House in Effingham County. It was also a chance to dedicate their building after two weeks of rapid and major renovation.
The Manna House dedicated its building in honor to two longtime volunteers
“It’s a victory, a big victory,” Manna House President Rachael Jackson said. “It’s just a big stepping stone. It’s a great accomplishment.”
Manna House officials decided to name the re-done building after Byron and Katie Glisson, longtime volunteers. Jackson said Byron Glisson continued to help out at Manna House “until he couldn’t get around anymore.”
Manna House closed two weeks ago and will re-open Wednesday. While it was closed, crews feverishly worked, sometimes as late as 2 a.m., each day to get it ready.
“It all fell together,” Jackson said. “We started to do one room, and then we did another…. It just completely changed. It turned around.”
The difference was welcome and noticeable for some of Manna House’s veteran helpers.
“It’s wonderful,” said Bernice Jaudon.
“It looks different from the first time I was in here, and I’m a regular customer,” said Arlene Arnsdorff.
Effingham’s Manna House got its start in a small building provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church. Since, Manna House moved to an upstairs location over Vinny’s Pizza and moved again thanks to its growth and the scheduled demolition of the building.
With donations, volunteers and the help of Habitat for Humanity, Manna House eventually moved into its current home on Patriot Park Drive.
The new Manna House has a large area with clothes, electronics and dishes for sale. A small room is reserved for shoes and toys and another room holds books. Another room serves as the pantry, with food ready to be provided for those in need. Items for sale go to provide money to buy food for the needy.
Manna House volunteers and workers cleaned off the back porch, where donations of goods are placed, on Saturday. Sunday, it was full of items again.
“It just pours in,” Manna House Vice-President Lisa Bush said.
Said Jackson, “People are really great. You get it clean, and it’s full again.”
Manna House also was one of the recipients of the food drive carried out by U.S. Postal Service letter carriers.
“You can see the massive amount of food,” Bush said.
Last year, Manna House helped 987 households with food, 321 with clothing and 269 with utility bills. The worth of
Manna House’s help was estimated at more than $65,000.
Through April of this year, the Manna House has helped 422 homes with food, 145 with clothing and 103 with utility bills, a total 1,468 people. Of those people served, 513 are children and 93 are senior citizens.
Nearly two dozen Effingham churches support Manna House, but getting them to work as one for the Manna House can be a challenge.
“We’re all different people,” Jackson said. “But it was a consensus. It all flowed together. You just move with the flow and go.”