Have you ever been interrupted while telling an important story? Or had a call drop in the middle of an important conversation? These experiences – whether due to technology or even rudeness -can be unsettling. As human beings we all want to be heard. It is a natural part of who we are to want to share our experience.
Manna Food Center is honored to touch the lives of 38,627 people every year. While we can’t have a conversation with each and every client, we believe it is important to listen to those we serve to understand their realities and create common solutions. In February we had two unique opportunities to listen and learn. Before a House of Delegates committee in Annapolis, a Manna client, 89 year old Margaret Dubinsky, shared why as a widower with no living children, she relies on Manna’s services and Food Stamps. She noted, “When I was younger, I worked as a secretary. I also spent many hours volunteering with my church to provide food for people who were homeless. Now, here I am on the other side of the table, asking for your help.” On the car ride home from our state capital, Margaret told me how glad she was to be able to help influence policy makers. I told her how inspired Manna is to be a part of her story.
Soon after, a group of eight guests at the Colesville Presbyterian Church accepted an invitation from Manna to “break bread” together before they began their monthly shopping at the choice pantry. The conversations we had with the group, as well as community members, were another example of how Manna is combining our food distribution service with opportunities to build community and share experiences. We are also convening dinner sessions and “street conversations” at distribution sites to foster dialogue across lines of difference about what it will take for Montgomery County to be hunger free.
Manna believes that listening and learning will help us work with the community to create opportunities, policies, and programs to end hunger. We are interested in engaging with you too. Please consider volunteering, donating, or reaching out to me directly to share your ideas and insights.
Ending hunger: it’s what we do together.