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By Emily Banks Wooten
MannaFest food pantry served 577 families, or 1,661 individuals, during the month of June, averaging 58 families per day.
“Except for February, which is a short month, we have had over 450 families for all of 2023. The last two months have been over 550. We seem to have less food than we’ve ever had, although we are buying more food than ever. God will see us through,” Executive Director Marilyn Wise said.
During the month of June, MannaFest received $2,686 in donations, from churches, individuals and the Livingston Lions Club. As for gifts in kind, the food pantry received 3,689 pounds from Walmart, 1,188 pounds from Dollar General and 802 pounds from individuals, most of which were donations made at EagleFest. They also received 8,921 pounds of produce and other items from Southeast Texas Food Bank. They spent $7,058.69 on food and $486.27 on hygiene products.
“Big House is a Methodist youth missionary program for middle schoolers and above. On June 22, one of their small groups, five girls and one adult, did a deep cleaning for MannaFest,” Wise said. “This means moving every can, box, package, etc. from every pallet and shelf, cleaning, and returning everything to its place. They also weeded and cleaned out our flower beds and mowed the grounds.
“We are continuing to distribute summer food boxes. We have given around 300 of these boxes so far and will continue through July 28,” Wise said.
“We still need a volunteer to be in charge of Saturday mornings and one to be in charge of our Thursday senior boxes. Please let me know if you can help. We have some people interested in the director and assistant director positions, but they will need help,” Wise said.
“About two weeks ago, one of our longtime clients who can no longer manage getting out of her car and coming inside the pantry, asked if someone would come out and pray with her,” Wise said. “She was so moved by the prayer and so grateful that we care. It is often that our clients express their gratefulness for our caring and our prayers. This is a vital part of our ministry. I would say that sometimes it is as important as the food we give.
“Thank you to all of you who give your time, your money, your talents, your prayers, your caring, your interest to MannaFest. We could not be the ministry God has made us without every one of you,” Wise said.