‘To be His hands and feet’
Manna Program at Nicholasville United Methodist helps serve a warm meal to those in need
Adele and Jim McKinney founded Nicholasville United Methodist Church’s Manna Program in 2008 with one goal in mind, to serve a hot free meal to those in need.
“We started Manna because several people recognized the need for a hot, free meal in our community on the weekend,” McKinney said. “School children were especially considered as they get meals during the week, but not on the weekend.”
The meal is available at the church, located at 303 W. Maple St. in Nicholasville and is served every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Everyone is welcome,” McKinney said. “There are no requirements, forms to fill out etc. Anyone who comes will receive a meal. We have several regular diners who come just to meet up with friends and enjoy a meal together.”
Each week, the meal is hosted by a different cooking team. The church has four teams, one for every week of the month. The idea is to provide a hot, nutritionally balanced meal, McKinney said. Meals try to meet certain standards by containing at least one protein, carb and vegetable. A variety of foods are served from homemade casseroles to Thanksgiving dinner.
“(Our mission is) to provide food for some who have food insecurity and provide a hot meal and not just sandwiches and provide fellowship,” McKinney said.
Those who attend are welcome to eat as many plates as they want ant try as many dishes as they choose. The church provides enough food for each person to take home at least one meal. In addition, McKinney said every week Panera Bread donates bread and sweet treats for those who come to the church and eat a meal.
“We would love to continue to reach more people who could benefit from the meal, and possibly start meals on other days of the week,” McKinney said.
Everyone is encouraged to come and enjoy a meal at the church, McKinney said. The meal is paid for by donations form the community, churches and some local businesses in Jessamine County. No one who volunteers to help serve the meal is paid. Volunteers include youth groups, residents from various churches, boy and cub scouts, community members, high school groups and REVIVE volunteers.
“We could not do Manna without the love, kindness, and willingness of so many volunteers,” McKinney said.
For Joan Risen, a regular volunteer with Manna, the meal helps to provide a basic human need for residents in the community.
“Manna brings people together,” Risen said. “It doesn’t just satisfy a hungry belly, it comforts the soul. We need sustenance to nourish but we also need the company of others. Everyone has value, everyone deserves to feel they have worth. And many need to satisfy their need to nurture and express their compassion for others by serving those in need. Manna expresses what community is.”
Kay Moles, another volunteer with the program, said Manna helps those who volunteer have an opportunity to serve Christ and to invest in the lives of others.
“To be His hands and feet, to give a smile, a kind word, a plate of food or warm clothing, to be a listening ear and to serve those in need from all walks of life that God brings across our paths,” Moles said. “For some, it is an opportunity to give back to the community in a positive way.”
For more information call 859-885-4481.