The mission of Manna is to provide, in the spirit of faith and love, nourishing meals and supportive services in an atmosphere of acceptance and caring for those in need.
Manna Soup Kitchen was founded in May, 1985. The previous winter, a woman died from starvation in a horse stall at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango, Colorado. Scrawled on the wall beside her were the words, “nobody cares.” This tragedy resulted in a small group of Christians organizing to provide food for those in the community who were experiencing hunger. Meals were initially served in the parking lot of the Spanish Assembly of God Church, but soon moved to the Church kitchen. This became Manna’s first permanent home and meals were served there for the next eight years.
In 1992, Sacred Heart Catholic Church provided their parish hall for meals. In 1995, the first staff person was hired. By 2000, plans began to build a facility capable of serving over 150 people a hot meal, away from the elements. The new building opened in 2002 with a modern kitchen, a large dining hall, and laundry and shower facilities available. In 2004, Manna began its own onsite garden.
In 2014, with the creation of Manna’s newly added culinary and administrative building, Manna hosted its first class of Culinary Program students. Since then, two classes of 6-8 students each graduate every year with Culinary and Food Handlers Certificates. The program boasts a job placement rate of approximately 75 percent.
Currently, Manna serves nearly 60,000 meals per year including breakfast, a hot lunch and hot and cold to-go dinners. While the mission of Manna is still to feed those in need, the organization has expanded its services to include skills training programs to prepare people for jobs in the food industry and gain greater self-sufficiency. By doing this, Manna is contributing to the overall health and economic vitality of the region.
It is thanks to our donors, volunteers, and sponsors that 2018 was a success. Here are some of the extraordinary numbers:
Total Meals Served – 59,079
Lunches/Hot Meals to Go – 19,001
Breakfasts Served – 24,236
Dinners Served – 5,264
Sack Lunches Prepared – 8,692
Children Served – 1,157
Incoming Food Donations – 188,193 lbs (valued at $376,386)
Outgoing Food Donations – 33,159 lbs (valued at $66,318)
Volunteer Hours – 8,243
Take-Home Backpacks Provided to Children – 6,161
Prescriptions Filled – 9
Transit Passes – 4,271
Thrift Store Vouchers – 349
Haircut Vouchers – 16
IDs/Driver’s Licenses – 73
Emergency Food Boxes – 84 (serving 138 people)
Culinary Program Graduates – 13
Board Contributions – 100%
Board of Directors