News Source: The Reporter
By: Justin Rollins
LANSDALE >> Hundreds of volunteers, ranging from ages 5 to 70 and from various backgrounds, came out to help Manna on Main Street make the symbolic move on Sunday from their current location at 713 W. Main St. to their new home at 606-608 E. Main St., both in Lansdale. Although the official move won’t take place until Sept. 30, today’s move was just a reminder of the community’s support.
Even though the forecast called for rain, the bad weather held off and allowed the procession from St. John’s United Church of Christ to Memorial Park to take place, and the community to form a “chain of caring,” in which volunteers lined the sidewalk and passed cans and packages of food down Main Street to Manna’s future home at North Penn Commons.
“Seeing the community involvement here today is indicative of the community’s support of Manna,” said board member Bruce Nelson.
While Paige Harker who is the development officer for Manna said, “Seeing everyone turning out for this event is heartwarming and wonderful.”
Nancy Nolan, who is an volunteer with Manna and was serving as a public relations director for Sunday said, “Manna does a lot more than just offer food, they provide education opportunities, counseling and referrals, and emergency financial aid to those who are in need.”
The child volunteers were bright and bubbly, and many children assembled on Main Street tried to get passing cars to beep to show their support. The Corpus Christi School soccer team, North Penn High School cheerleaders and Boy Scout Troop 399 (Lansdale) were among those in attendance at the event.
North Penn High School cheer team coach Marissa Alexander said, “We’ve been big supporters of Manna for at least 16 years, and I have been coach for eight years, and I know that the coach before me was a big supporter of how Manna helped in the community. Every year we hold a food drive to donate canned goods to the pantry. The cheerleaders even made up special cheers for the occasion.”
One of the cheers was, “Get fired up! Yay, Manna!”
Cubmaster Deborah Kline, whose idea it was to bring Boy Scout Troop 399 out, said, “We are always looking for community service opportunities and once we heard about this opportunity, we said, ‘let’s jump on it,’ and my partner, Scout Master Bill Henning totally agreed.”
“The move to North Penn Commons has always been a vision of Manna for about six years, and I am glad it is finally coming to fruition. It makes me feel great that the community is just as excited as I am,” said Health Spark Foundation President Russell Johnson.
Once the food pass was completed, participants gathered at the North Penn Commons, where they could enjoy frozen snacks from Rita’s Water Ice and a soft pretzel.
Manna Executive Director Suzan Neiger Gould and she had a lot of hope for the future of Manna, noting, “More people would come to know about Manna because they are sharing space with the Lansdale YMCA, PEAK Center Senior Care, and Advanced Living Retirement community with 60 affordable apartment homes, and we will really be a part of the community now.”
Manna helps the 7,500 individuals who are living poverty in the North Penn area. In the past year, the organization has distributed 476,585 pounds of food to 1,026 households in need.
If you have any questions about Manna or require more information, please contact Susan Neiger-Gould via phone at 215-885-5454 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Gary Puleo contributed to this story.