Serving Cenla: The mission of the Manna House

An inside look at a decades old vision to banish hunger in central Louisiana
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 2:28 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It’s officially the holiday season, but many people may not be aware that so many in our community face hunger each day, especially during this time of year.

That’s why this month (November), KALB will be featuring a community staple that has worked to help banish hunger in Central Louisiana for more than 30 years: the Manna House.

The Manna House opened its doors at 2655 Lee Street back on May 1, 1990, under the vision of founder Father Gerard Foley. Father Foley wanted to make an impression on his congregation at St. Frances Cabrini Church about the importance of feeding the hungry.

On the Manna House’s first day, 19 people showed up to eat a free meal. By that summer, the Manna House was feeding almost 400 people every day. Now over 30 years later, the Manna House continues to feed people in the community 365 days a year, no questions asked.

Currently, the Manna House is seeing a massive increase in its services. This year, it has already surpassed last year’s total meals by 30 percent, pushing the need for donations.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Those at the Manna House shared that monetary donations help the most, giving the Manna House the power to buy what they need when they need it.
  • “No donation is too big or too small,” said Jessica Viator, Manna House Director.
  • For the Manna House, it costs $4.39 to make a meal, adding up to an average of $30,000 to $35,000 per month to operate, including building expenses.
  • Monetary donations can be made online at givetomannahouse.com or donations can be sent to the Manna House at P.O. Box 6011 Alexandria, LA 71307.

Manna House meals are served from the 4 distribution sites below from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.:

  • CLHC (Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition) (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday) 1515 Jackson St, Alexandria, LA 71301
  • Christian Love Baptist Church (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) 3515 Hudson Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71302
  • St. Julianna Catholic Church (Tuesday & Thursday) 900 Daspit St, Alexandria, LA 71302
  • Wardville Community Church (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) 1295 Bayou Maria Rd, Pineville, LA 71360

If you wish to donate food instead, the Manna House needs specific meal items. Those include:

  • Bulk #10 cans of green beans, yams, corn, and black-eyed peas
  • Country Crock butter, Pam cooking spray, Tony’s seasoning, and three-compartment styrofoam trays
  • Large portions of ham, turkey, and pork loin that are store-bought and traceable (including the store barcode)

Donation drop-offs can be done Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Manna House.

Manna House is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3). All donations are tax deductible.

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