Well-known as the organization that always gives to those in need, MANNA recently was the recipient of a large gift. The Board of Directors of The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area awarded MANNA a $14,000 grant earlier in December. The money is for a walk-in energy efficient freezer for bulk food storage.
"We are just so thankful," said Lynda Gheesling, the director of MANNA. "We just need it so desperately, and we just can't believe we're going to actually get it. It's just wonderful."
MANNA is using eight "home" chest freezers for their food storage. And that just isn't enough.
"We get food through Golden Harvest Food Bank, Bi-Lo and Walmart, so we desperately need somewhere to put all that," Ms. Gheesling said. "And at the holiday season, we definitely have more turkeys and things that take up a lot of room. We just did not have sufficient space."
This past year, MANNA relocated into a new, larger facility on East Hill Street, which provided ample space for their dry food storage. Ms. Gheesling said they will have to do some slight construction on the building to put in the walk-in freezer.
Funded through donations from area churches, businesses, organizations and individuals, MANNA serves over 400 area families in need with temporary and emergency aid by providing groceries and assistance with utility bills.
Ms. Gheesling said The Community Foundation came and inspected the facility when she applied for the grant.
"We were so pleased that they considered us, we are thrilled," she said.
The Community Foundation awarded a total of $400,003.56 to area agencies, according to a press release. The Foundation had 17 volunteer panels that assisted in reviewing and analyzing the applications, visiting the applicants and recommending the most deserving organizations.
Each agency that was awarded a grant "meets pressing and changing community needs and improves the quality of life for the individuals they serve," the press release revealed. The grants are available through the Foundation's Unrestricted Fund, which is primarily supported by the Augusta National Golf Club/Masters Tournament.
MANNA was the only recipient in McDuffie County. Other recipients include: 100 Black Men of Augusta Inc., Aiken County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council, Aiken Performing Arts Group Inc., The Art Factory Inc., Augusta Biomedical Research Corporation, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, Augusta Judicial Circuit Drug Court, Augusta Technical College Foundation, Augusta Urban Ministries, The B.E.L.L. Foundation, Broad Street Ministry Center, Center for New Beginnings, Child Enrichment Inc., Children's Place Inc., Downtown Cooperative Church Ministries Inc., Full Circle Refuge Inc., Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Gospel Water Branch Elderly Housing Inc., Interfaith Hospitality Network of Augusta, Le Chat Noir, The Lydia Project, Lynndale Inc., Old Fellow Burke County Rescue, Rachel Longstreet Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta, The Salvation Army of Augusta, Savannah River Cancer Foundation, Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center, Southeastern Firefighters' Burn Foundation Inc., Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, University of South Carolina Educational Foundation and When Help Can't Wait.