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Manna Meal begins distributing meals in their parking lot

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Manna Meal is known for consistently feeding the needy in the Charleston area. But this week they are facing a new challenge.

“We’ve never missed a meal in 44 years and we don’t plan to now,” said Manna Meal Executive Director Amy Wolfe. When West Virginia Governor Jim Justice ordered bars and restaurants to close, Manna Meal was included.

“We are plating everything up about 80 plates at a time and we are wheeling it out here and our employees will distribute them,” said Head Chef at Manna Meal Jesse Belcher.

Local business Food Among the Flowers donated a tent to make distributing food in the parking lot a little easier. The Charleston Fire Department came by to fill barrels with water to keep the tent in place.

“It is not ideal. But at the end of the day not ideal is better than not at all,” Wolfe said. They’ve also created a small seating area with appropriate space between the chairs. Wolfe said she also started stocking up on essentials weeks ago.  

“We all knew it was somewhat coming. We couldn’t really picture exactly what it was so we ordered extra food, started stocking up on the to-go containers and all the stuff that goes with that the silverware, the salt and pepper,” Wolfe explained.

Manna Meal is planning to launch dinner service two nights a week starting March 25. This is to fill a gap left by the closing of several evening feeding programs in the city.

“We stop doing it and it is going to make the situation even worse especially for the population that we serve,” Wolfe said.

Manna Meal also had to suspend their regular volunteer program since many of their current volunteers are retirees in a high-risk age group. They are asking healthy people who are under the age of 30 to come and volunteer if they are able. You can find more information on volunteer and donation opportunities here.  

“They can’t go without food,” Belcher said. “This has to be here.”

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