Although we have met the needs in order to conduct the past few food distributions, we would like to do more.Manna House Ministries Director Lisa Bush
RINCON — The need for food assistance is spreading at a rate commensurate to COVID-19.
In Effingham County, Manna House Ministries is facing “uncertainties” as it works to help a growing number of local people feed their families.
“In a normal pandemic-free month at our food pantry, we usually distribute 60,000 pounds of food serving, 600-700 families per month,” Manna House Ministries Director Lisa Bush said. “During this period through our seven food distributions, we have given out 185,510 pounds of food, serving 3,500 families.”
The pantry depends on a reliable force of volunteers
“People from all over the community have come together to contribute over 10,500 hours of volunteer service,” Bush said. “This has been a key asset over the past seven weeks considering that we must comply to the executive order for the state of Georgia by having no person over 65 years of age volunteering, as most of our regular volunteers are considered more susceptible to the COVID-19.”
A series of executive orders forced many businesses to cease or reduce operations in March, resulting in a steep rise in the unemployment rate and thousands unable to pay their bills or buy food.
“When the outbreak started in Georgia, we felt that in was our need in the community to try and shine some light on our community by helping the best way we know how, through food,” Bush said. “We have been completely amazed by the power of our community coming together to be of help to those less fortunate during these tough times.”
Manna House Ministries, located at 12010 Patriot Drive in Rincon, is facing a tough time, too. It has been unable to operate its thrift store for several weeks because of pandemic restrictions.
“Our thrift store (which sells clothing and items for the home) is a big contributor to the funds that we use to buy our food on a regular day basis,” Bush said. “Without these extra funds, Manna House has to find other sources of funding in order to keep our pantry stocked. This has been a challenge but thus far we have managed to find the support through our community.”
Manna House could use financial buttressing to meet its expanding demands.
“Although we have met the needs in order to conduct the past few food distributions, we would like to do more,” Bush said. “Unfortunately we would need further funding in order to keep up the pace. We are currently looking for funding support, people that can help us execute these events (volunteers, etc.) and also the potential donation of supplies, food and items from corporate sponsors/businesses.”
There are many ways to help. Chick-fil-a and Little Caesars in Rincon recently provided meals for volunteers on a food distribution day.
To become a Manna House volunteer or donor, call 912-826-2037.
“Moving forward at Manna House, we face many uncertainties,” Bush said. “We still are unsure about when we will be able to reopen our facilities and run normally again. We cannot accept donations in order to keep our thrift store operational at this time so we predict that the could be a future issue.
“However, right now we are not focused on the future. We are focused on supporting families through our food distributions and keeping our community strong and hopeful.”