What is Manna House?
Manna House is a place where people of all ages and all walks of life receive a hot, nutritious meal served 365 days a year in a clean, welcoming environment. Many of the people who come to Manna House are either homeless or living on very meager earnings.
However, anyone who comes to Manna House is welcome to eat. There is no fee. No ID is required. No questions are asked. An average of 230 people — men, women, and children — are fed each day.
How is Manna House supported?
Manna House is a community volunteer effort that does not receive government funding of any kind. It exists because people from near and far contribute funds to keep the ministry operating. Individuals in the community give monetary donations. School children and civic organizations conduct canned food drives to supplement the pantry. Businesses donate surplus foods.
All workers are volunteers except for three paid employees.
Fr. Gerard Foley, the founder of Manna House, said, “We are fortunate to have two outstanding cooks who are not only expert chefs, but have the knack of making the best use of foods available and without waste. We don’t waste anything around here!”
How can I help?
• Monetary gifts. In addition to the need for food and volunteers, Manna House needs cash for its operational expenses, such as rent on the building, utility bills, cleaning supplies, and other kitchen items. To make a donation, please call 318-445-6424, ext. 215. All donations are tax deductible. Please send monetary donations to Attn: Manna House, P.O. Box 7417, Alexandria, LA 71306, or you can visit this website to make a donation.
• Volunteer. Volunteers are always needed, particularly on weekends, to help on the serving line. Individuals or organized groups can serve on a regular basis or when their time allows. If you would like to donate your time please call (318) 445-9053 to volunteer.
• Donate Food. Canned, frozen or baked goods, fresh vegetables, fruit, and dairy products are always welcome. All donations must be unused, un-expired and un-opened items. Drop off food donations at Manna House during operating hours: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or for very large quantities, call and a pick up can be arranged.
• Prayers. Pray for the success of Manna House. Ask God for blessings on the volunteers, the cooks, those who donate, but most of all, for those who come to eat at Manna House. The men, women, and children; the homeless and the working poor — pray that they may know God’s love for them through the efforts of this community.
History of Manna House
Fr. Gerard Foley wrote a letter to his congregation in January, 1990:
“How often have you and I heard the words from Scripture, ‘When I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink,’ and wondered how we could adequately perform this work of mercy?
“I believe the Lord is calling us as His People to look into the feasibility of establishing a place where hungry people can come, and, with dignity, receive a meal to fill their empty stomachs and love to warm their weary hearts.
“I have had moments of doubt and fear: maybe this is too big a thing for us to undertake; maybe there really aren’t that many hungry and lonely people in our community; there are other organizations doing this – why am I getting involved? I don’t have enough time or money to contribute.
“In those quiet, lonely moments the Lord says, ‘But who will do it if you don’t?’ …and MY response has to be, “Here I am, Lord…”
With Fr. Foley leading the way, Manna House opened its doors on Tuesday, May 1, 1990. Nineteen people came to eat the first day. By the end of May, 1990, 4,512 meals had been served. And the work continues…
In all the years since Manna House opened, it has been closed without serving meals on only four days — three days after a hurricane left it with no electricity and one day in early 2006, the day of Fr. Foley’s funeral.
Fr. Foley’s vision still lives.
If Jesus calls you to give your time, talent, or gifts to Manna House, our prayer is that you —- like Father Foley —- will say, “Here I Am, Lord.