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Rescue Mission and Manna Ministries to Join Forces

manna ministriesFor the first time in its’ 67-year history, the Rescue Mission will begin distributing food boxes to more than 800 families when it partners with Manna Ministries this Spring. Manna leaders approached the Mission late last year when Parkway Wesleyan Church, which started Manna in Vinton 15 years ago, decided to phase out the program due to increasing costs.

“We’re excited now,” said Parkway Wesleyan Pastor John Ott, “about the potential Manna has to go to a whole new level with the resources of the Rescue Mission.”

Mission CEO Joy Sylvester-Johnson said Manna is a natural fit for the Rescue Mission, and she looks forward to the collaborative effort to address the needs of the community. “Being a good neighbor means helping your neighbors,” said Sylvester-Johnson. “About 95% of the children in SE Roanoke receive subsidized school lunches. This is another way to lift the community and we welcome the opportunity to partner with another ministry that has for years been doing a very valid work.”

Eligible families currently receive one box of food each month through Manna, as well as clothing and hygiene items. That will continue once the program moves to the Rescue Mission. Mission Industry Director Leslie Littlefield said that recipients can expect larger quantities of food, in addition to an ample supply of protein and fresh produce. Participants will also receive vouchers for free clothing in the Rescue Mission’s 4th Street Thrift Store, and will be invited to a free pancake breakfast in the Mission’s dining room each Saturday morning they come to pick up their boxes.

Sylvester-Johnson said the Mission is working to make it a seamless transition for all involved. “We welcome this opportunity for new relationships with the Manna families, as well as the many volunteers who make the program work. The mission of the Rescue Mission and the mission of Manna go hand in hand, to keep people out of homelessness.”

At an informational dinner at the Rescue Mission Tuesday, Manna volunteers voted to change the name of the program to Manna Mission Ministries. Long-time volunteer Terry Rollison said he left the dinner feeling nothing but excitement about the future for Manna. “It wasn’t the big guy taking over the little guy. They made it clear it’s very much an equal partnership. We’ll be able to provide more food to more people and share the love of Christ together.”

Currently Manna recipients pick up their food boxes on Thursday evenings. Once the transition is complete April first, distribution will switch to Saturday mornings, with the first distribution at the Rescue Mission set for April 4th.

For more information about the Rescue Mission, please visit www.rescuemission.net, or call (540) 343-7227.

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