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Manna Outreach facing temporary closure

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Manna Outreach facing temporary closure

Manna Outreach, a Christian ministry which for almost 30 years has been aimed at helping people temporarily down on their luck, now finds itself in a similar situation.

Following the announcement that co-directors Javonica and Michael Wallace are leaving their post because Michael started a new job, the non-profit organization may temporarily suspend some functions, including its shelter, until new managers are found.

Marilyn Coady, president of the board, confirmed Wednesday that Manna Outreach will be unable to provide housing or meals at the center until qualified and dedicated managers become available.

“We are suspending admissions,” Coady said. “The warehouse will remain open and we will still be distributing food baskets.”

Coady said many community members are looking for people who could and would serve as directors of the mission.

“It’s a hard job,” she said. “The people who do this have to be strong but loving. People who do this job have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

While the recent personnel issue has surfaced, the center has struggled with funding issues for several months.

This past September, the outreach began charging people who stayed at the center, including a $25 admission fee, but also $100 a week. The amount paid for part of the expense involved providing shelter and food for them.

Michael Wallace said in September the downturn in oil prices left the companies that contributed generously during past years struggling to survive and unable to be as generous with their contributions.

At that time, the ministry was still able to feed hungry people. Michael Wallace said Manna had a good supply of food, but running the shelter required a greater expenditure of funds than was available without charging people who stayed at the shelter.

“Our expenses are huge,” he said. “We have to pay for everything. The cost of insurance is the biggest expense, but we have to pay for everything, water, electricity, down to and including toilet paper.”

Norma Coffman, who was treasurer for the Manna Outreach board, agreed at that time that expenses for the shelter are high and noted that, “Every nonprofit is suffering to some extent. We operate 90 percent on donations. We have tried everything and the donations are just not there.”

Coady reiterated that suspending admissions and closing Manna Outreach is temporary.

“It’s just until we find directors,” she said. “We haven’t found anyone yet, but God will provide someone.”

Burkett Shaw
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