For the past 33 years, Manna Ministries, a weekly food share distribution agency in rural Alabaster, Alabama, has helped feed people in underserved communities in four counties—already making it the largest agency of Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in Birmingham. But even so, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything.
“Since COVID,” says Executive Director Phyllis Harbin, “we have doubled the number of people we are serving since this time last year, now close to 300 households. And we are one of the only food shares that distributes weekly, not monthly. People are carpooling here from inner city Birmingham with two, three, even four families in the vehicle because they can’t find enough food,” she notes about the drive-throughs on Saturday mornings.”
“People are losing their jobs,” she explains. “We’re now seeing all walks of life come through … many of them middle class folks. At least 25% have never needed to ask for help before. People have no financial cushion and who would have ever thought something like this would happen?”
Reliant on donations of cash and food, all-volunteer Manna Ministries is able to feed someone for a month for about $5 … But COVID has made it far harder to meet the demand … And many people don’t realize that Food Stamps don’t even cover necessary paper products or hygiene items.
“Weekly,” Phyllis relates, “we give every family one box each of pantry items, produce and meat, as well as breads, sweets and dairy if we have it—about 50-60 pounds of food. And we provide baby formula/food. We don’t always have hygiene items, but we are trying during the pandemic to provide toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, feminine hygiene products, even pet food. All of our volunteers look for donations, like asking our dentists to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes. We’ll take any usable donation. Hand sanitizer is hard to find, but the Church Ladies have been making masks to hand out. We just try to show kindness and love on them.”
Afraid that COVID isn’t going anywhere soon, donations like the one from Harrity 4 Charity’s COVID emergency fund are more important than ever. “You betcha,” says Phyllis, a retired financial record keeper. “The amount that Harrity gave us took us through three months of weekly food drive-throughs—You’re talking about feeding 1,500 families. And the public relations support provided by Harrity brought in three more sizable donations. We’re grateful.”
“We all do it not because we have to,” she shares, “but because we see a big need out there and have a love of people. We feel called to do His work. It’s a labor of love and we’re just glad that we’re able to assist.”
See Manna Ministries food distribution drive-thru on NBC’s WVTM-TV: https://www.wvtm13.com/article/local-ministry-hands-out-food-to-hundreds-in-alabaster/33357106
Images of Food Drive-Through
About Harrity 4 Charity
Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.