The mission of Manna is to provide, in the spirit of faith and love, nourishing meals and supportive services in an atmosphere of acceptance and caring for those in need.
Manna Soup Kitchen was founded in May, 1985. The previous winter, a woman died from starvation in a horse stall at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango, Colorado. Scrawled on the wall beside her were the words, “nobody cares.” This tragedy resulted in a small group of Christians organizing to provide food for those in the community who were experiencing hunger. Meals were initially served in the parking lot of the Spanish Assembly of God Church, but soon moved to the Church kitchen. This became Manna’s first permanent home and meals were served there for the next eight years.
In 1992, Sacred Heart Catholic Church provided their parish hall for meals. In 1995, the first staff person was hired. By 2000, plans began to build a facility capable of serving over 150 people a hot meal, away from the elements. The new building opened in 2002 with a modern kitchen, a large dining hall, and laundry and shower facilities available. In 2004, Manna began its own onsite garden.
In 2014, with the creation of Manna’s newly added culinary and administrative building, Manna hosted its first class of Culinary Program students. Since then, classes of 6-8 students each graduate every year with Culinary and Food Handlers Certificates. The program boasts a job placement rate of approximately 75 percent. Currently, Manna serves nearly 60,000 meals per year including breakfast, a hot lunch and hot and cold to-go dinners. While the mission of Manna is still to feed those in need, the organization has expanded its services to include skills training programs to prepare people for jobs in the food industry and gain greater self-sufficiency. By doing this, Manna is contributing to the overall health and economic vitality of the region.
Our Board of Directors
2019 At a Glance
It is thanks to our donors, volunteers, and sponsors that 2019 was a success. Here are some of the extraordinary numbers:
Total Meals Served – 56,156
Lunches/Hot Meals to Go – 17,999
Breakfasts Served – 19,721
Dinners Served – 5,393
Sack Lunches Prepared – 10,988
Children Served – 1,510
Volunteer Hours – 11,381
Incoming Food Donations – 212,826 lbs (valued at $411,202)
Outgoing Food Donations – 43,435 lbs (valued at $86,870)
Take-Home Backpacks Provided to Children – 6,451
Prescriptions Filled – 10
Transit Passes – 5,650
Thrift Store Vouchers – 440
Haircut Vouchers – 17
IDs/Driver’s Licenses – 118
Emergency Food Boxes – 289 (serving 886 people)
Culinary Program Graduates – 12
Board Contributions – 100%