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Need obvious at Manna House

POSTED: July 21, 2007 5:03 a.m.
It’s just before 1 p.m. on a Friday and Manna House volunteer Tammy Stewart is taking a break after handling the “just-before-closing rush.”
Sitting behind a small desk inside the organization’s Commerce Street office in Hinesville, Stewart says business has picked up since the beginning of the year.
“We’ve had such an increase here with the military and people transitioning from different areas into the community. It’s really expanding,” she said. “We’re averaging about 20 clients a day, far more than we’ve had before."
But an increase in the clientele needing services from Manna House is not a good sign for a community where the focus is continually on economic growth and prosperity.
Manna House is a food and clothing bank for senior citizens, low-income families and recently unemployed people who have an urgent need for food.
“Our mission is to feed those who are hungry and clothe those in need of clothes and to provide assistance to low-income households and the temporarily unemployed of Liberty County,” Stewart said as another volunteer, Valencia Johnson, talked with a resident dropping off a box of items. “And to treat those in need with respect and dignity and serve in excellence and enthusiasm.”
The organization has thrived for years on generous food, clothing and financial donations from churches, civic organizations and individuals, but this year has been a time of exceptional need throughout the county.
“On a monthly basis, we’ve given out over 2,000 items of clothing and with the food it’s varied from 500 to 600 items a month,” Stewart said. “We take care of a lot of people. There’s just a lot of need out there.”
The volunteer pointed to the rising costs of living in the county and lack of jobs available to match those costs as part of the problem.
“A lot of what we have are called the working poor: people who are working, but they just can’t make ends meet with the salaries they’re making,” Stewart said.
As two familiar faces entered the office to pick-up their orders from the Manna House pantry, the volunteer immediately rose to gather their goods. The three shared a quick conversation and a few laughs before the residents exited the office with smiles and food for the night.
Returning to her seat behind the desk, Stewart said working with Manna House and getting to know the clients has been a blessing, but more help from the community is needed to make sure the organization can adequately provide assistance to the growing number of residents who need help.
“Whatever is laid on your heart to bring, just bring,” she said. “Anything you would use others can use.”

Requested items
Here’s a short list of Manna House’s most needed items:
• Powdered milk
• Meals in a box
• Juice
• Peanut Butter
• Jelly
• Fresh and frozen vegetables
• Fresh and frozen fruits
• Any canned goods
Manna House is at 100 Commerce St. in Hinesville. The food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the clothing shop is open from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information about the organization’s needs, call 368-3660
 

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