Four years of Manna Ministries in Leland
September 2012, marks the 4th anniversary of Manna Ministries, the Leland Area food pantry. What started as a pilot project has become a monthly event in Old Leland.
How it started
In April of 2008, several pastors and church leaders were gathered together to speak with the executive leadership of Shallotte based, Brunswick Family Assistance, regarding community assistance needs. One of the pastors suggested that the area was in real need of a food pantry. Plans were then laid out to “try out” a pantry in the Fall of 2008, with the backing of Brunswick Family Assistance.
A goal of feeding 100 families a month was set, with an estimated need of $900 per month in food or cash. After working all summer to raise awareness and food supplies, the group was still over $700 short. Just days before the first food distribution, a phone call came in from an acquaintance of one of the pastors, asking for a quick meeting. At the meeting, the individual said that they were touched by a recent message about the food pantry. Their family had to make tough choices when they were growing up, and the need struck a chord. At the meeting, the person said “I decided to give you my ‘mad’ money. I was going to spend it on things for me. I want you to have it for the food pantry.” It was $750 - exactly enough to meet the financial goal for the first month.
This was just one of the MANY small miracles that have occurred since we started.
We didn’t build this – God did!
After an encouraging visit by our local congressman, he commented that it was truly a “loaves and fishes” miracle at work.
The food pantry was first held monthly, outdoors, on the grounds of Victory Church on Wayne Street in Leland. The weather extremes are brutal, but the volunteers are always steadfast in their task.
Amazingly, it did not rain on the day of the food distribution, from October 2008 to December 2011. One time it rained right up to 9 am when the pantry starts, and then quit until after everything was cleaned up. Another time it misted off and on, but it did not rain. In August of 2011, hurricane Irene closed the whole town, so we did not serve at all that month. It has not rained since.
God Changes Wrong To Right
One day, one of the volunteers received a phone call, it was a wrong number. The caller was actually looking for a specific charity in Wilmington, so they could give a donation. The volunteer struck up a conversation and said, “Maybe this call was not a coincidence, let me tell you about our local food pantry…” This turned into a monthly commitment that has been much more than a wrong number.
In November of 2008, when the volunteers came to unlock and set up, there was already a line of over 100 waiting in sub-freezing temperatures. The pantry gave out all they had and sent for more. In less than two hours, the fledgling pantry had given out groceries to 225 families. The volunteers restocked and re-opened 3 days later and served 50 more families.
Looking back, the economy crashed the autumn of 2008. We didn’t know it at the time, but our neighbors were feeling it. In God’s providence, He began planning for the need in the Spring of 2008. Since then, over a dozen churches, neighborhoods, businesses, civic, political and even government organizations have come to help – all in the name of Jesus.
Serving Every Day
EACH DAY, volunteers also receive bread from a local bakery and drive all over the area distributing it to central meeting places, organizations and individuals. This daily network of neighbors helping neighbors is also part of the ministry. It was Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In January of 2011, Manna moved to the back door of Closer Walk
Church, behind the Food Lion on Village Road. Our gracious hosts have provided cabinets, tables, helpers
and energy – all for free. We are so grateful! In June of 2011, Manna became a stand-alone
organization. We are very thankful for the help received from Brunswick Family Assistance to get us started. We
thank God for making this
Thank you to our monthly donors:Closer Walk Church – facilities and breakfast cereal Grace Point Church – peanut butter Oasis Church – Mac and Cheese Zion UMC – rice Leland Church of God – pasta sauce James M. (Mesa, AZ) – brown beans
A special thanks go out to all the others who give, and work quietly in the background.
100% of undesignated dollars donated go to food 100% of food goes to families in the North Brunswick area 0% comes from taxpayer dollars
Each month we average 100 families who come to receive food and we serve them all with love and patience, in less than two hours. Each family receives a box of food appropriate to the number of people in the home. Since we began in 2008, our food expenses have risen from $900 a month in the early days to $1600 today, yet God has provided!
Unfortunately the economy in our area has not improved. Unemployment for August 2012 is still high – 11%. This is the same as it was 2 years ago (June 2010) and just a small improvement over February 2009 (11.2%).
We will continue to do what God has given us to do. We also have three NEW goals for the next 12 months:
1) Back-pack Food: We are going to start a back-pack food ministry for one of the local elementary schools. This new work will allow these school children to have food EACH WEEKEND during the school year. This will require WEEKLY food purchases, back-pack pickup, stuffing and drop off. This will require a great deal of human resources.
2) Daily Gleanings: In addition to the DAILY bread pick-up we now have, we will soon have an opportunity to pick-up “gleanings” from an additional location – DAILY. These gleanings will include meat that needs to be frozen until we can get it distributed. This will require additional volunteers EACH DAY who have access to a freezer.
3) From Needy to Needed: We want to encourage more of our recipients to move from the receiving line to the volunteer line. We have already implemented an “invitation” opportunity for those who are regular recipients and seem to be in good health. We have seen many attitudes change, when an individual transitions from NEEDY to NEEDED.
Will you pray with us?
If you know someone in need, more information can be found
on the web at