Manna Emergency Food Bank Fights Hunger and Feeds Hope to VZC
Executive Director of Manna, Inc. Jerry Tidwell, addressed Canton Rotary Club members yesterday, at the Van Zandt Country Club. He reported that the recent Fall Festival in the Canton Civic Center, collected 2,435 pounds of non-perishable food for the 501 (c)(3) organization to give to the needy. Local school children are also conducting holiday food drives on various campuses throughout the County.
Each Manna recipient may “shop” for their own needs, and receive a few days-worth of food, once per month. Sometimes, the faith based food bank is able to provide non-food items, such as laundry detergent. Manna serves 400 families per month in Van Zandt County. They have gone from helping 185 households in 2010, to 385 in 2016; and from distributing 60,000 lbs. of food in 2010 to 115,970 lbs. in 2016. All food that comes into the building, located next to Grace Bible Fellowship, on FM 1255, is weighed.
Though much of the food is collected through food drives, Manna purchases food weekly from the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler; and receives monetary donations from individuals, churches, businesses, and civic clubs. Manna is an emergency food bank, designed to supply temporary needs, although there are many who need ongoing assistance.
In July, the USDA-sponsored Senior Box program was launched. Each month, qualifying seniors (age 60 and up) may receive a box of food that includes a block of cheese, along with other non-perishables. Every other month, they will receive an additional package of dry milk. For a one-person household, their income can be no more than $1,307. For two persons in the household, the income may not exceed $1,760. Some grandparents support grandchildren; and the qualifying income goes up with more members in the household. Manna is currently serving 70 seniors and there is a waiting list. If a senior (or their proxy) misses food pickup two months in a row, then they no longer qualify, and a new recipient is advanced from the waiting list, per government regulation. If a senior is on food stamps or Medicaid, they automatically qualify.
The food bank is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. If you would like to volunteer or know someone who needs assistance, call Jerry Tidwell at 903-567-6107 or Manna President, Dick Patterson at 903-848-9052. Send financial contributions to P.O. Box 1436, Canton, Texas 75103.