Notes from the CEO – Jackie DeCarlo
When I’m out and about in the community this summer, people regularly ask, “How is the move going?” On my best days, I note that there are the usual delays and budget overruns, but I’m so excited about all that is being created—a revamped distribution hub and a new food center in Silver Spring. On those not-so-centered days, I grit my teeth and say, “Well, it’s actually four moves.”
Yes, this summer Manna Food Center is moving FOUR TIMES. We’ve already accomplished a temporary shift from 9311 Gaither to 8341 Beechcraft Ave. We’ll be relocated there until early September, while our warehouse is renovated.
One down three to go!
This Friday, beginning at noon our offices will close, our administrative, fundraising, programs, and services will make move #2 to a new home at 12301 Old Columbia Pike. Later this summer, move #3 is also at the 12301 building. We’ll offer a market for shopping, a classroom for learning, and a conference and “touch down” space for collaborating.
As fall approaches in our fourth and final move, our logistics team will return to 9311 Gaither Rd. better able to receive, store, and share millions of pounds of food. When it is all said and done, Manna will have accomplished much more than a move. We will have transformed our organization into a place where the community comes together through the power of food to be nourished, make connections, and ensure there is Food for All.
While all this change is exciting, some of the stress comes from saying goodbye. Our team—including our volunteers—will be functioning out of new locations in new ways. This means that Miss Blanche Hall, our warehouse clerk, won’t be greeting participants with her distinctive warm welcome. Some long-time volunteers have decided that now is the time to put down their boxes and phones. Although we understand the decisions, we are sad that Manna’s new ways and spaces don’t meet everyone’s service needs ( Secretly, we hope to tempt them back with cool new volunteer opportunities such as serving as shopping assistants on nights and weekends ).
Part of our moves this summer is a big leap of faith —that updating our equipment, evolving our services, and getting closer to those who need us will result in more food security, better health, and strong communities. Thank you for getting us to this place in our history and for coming along for the journey!