Good news for Manna – Agency accepts donation

By DAN SOKIL, Staff Writer
The Reporter Online

Manna on Main Street in Lansdale has gotten an early holiday gift from Wachovia, a division of Wells Fargo & Co., along with four other area nonprofit agencies.

“It’s a great gift, it’s really going to help us keep operating, which is a big deal,” said Manna Executive Director Tom Allebach.

“We don’t have a lot of overhead, but we do have staff to pay and things like that, so this will make a big difference,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, five area hunger relief organizations were each presented with a $10,000 check to help brighten the holidays for those in need.

“Wachovia is pleased to help support these organizations in their efforts to stock the cupboards of local families this holiday season. We recognize the need is so great that hunger relief organizations are struggling to meet the demand,” said Ergetu Merete, Wachovia business banking division manager.

Along with Manna, the four other agencies receiving checks were Philabundance, Bensalem’s Greater Works Food Bank, the Chester County Food Bank and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

The check presentation was held Tuesday afternoon at Philabundance’s Philadelphia location.

“Philabundance is so thankful to Wachovia for their generous donations to us, and to all of the other local organizations focused on hunger relief,” said Philabundance President and CEO Bill Clark.

The money comes from a total of $130,000 in grants to hunger relief organizations across Pennsylvania and Delaware that Wachovia announced when it changed its name to Wells Fargo earlier this year.

The donation comes at a busy time for Manna, according to Allebach.

This week, Manna has distributed Christmas baskets to those in need, and will be distributing gifts to more than 300 local children through its Adopt-A-Child program.

“Folks have been dropping stuff off since the beginning of last week, and we’ll be giving those gifts out … and any leftover gifts, we’ll save for (Flourtown-based nonprofit) Carson’s Valley Children’s Aid, so they have gifts for kids throughout the year,” said Allebach.

Donations of goods or volunteer time are always appreciated, and lists of what is most in need are available at Manna’s website

Manna has served more than 22,000 meals to those in need over the past year, and budgets around $20,000 annually to help with rentals and emergency housing, but Allebach said at least part of the donation from Wells Fargo will likely go toward general operating support.

“People come in to prepare meals, and people want to donate to programs and things like that, which are really useful and helpful, but we still need to pay our own employees and keep the lights on too,” he said.

Allebach also shared some facts about Manna and the community it serves at last week’s Lansdale borough council meeting, when he was invited to address council as part of Mayor Andy Szekely’s regular meeting report.

“The average income of the folks who come to Manna is only about $1,200 on a monthly basis. If you’re a family of one, maybe you can get by on that, but if you have two, three or four it can be tough,” he said.

“We have a lot of wonderful people here, but I think we have to do more, and that starts by communicating and reaching out to each other,” he said.

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