CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — They were serving up a feast at Manna Meal in Charleston for Thanksgiving. This “no questions asked” soup kitchen has been around for decades, serving anyone who stops by for breakfast or lunch, for free. Eric has been dining here for over a decade.
“I’ve seen people in three-piece suits. I seen [sic] people who looked like they just straggled out from up the holler somewhere. Everybody in the world is welcome here,” said Eric, a Manna Meal diner.
Some of the clients are homeless, while others are unemployed. Many are trying to stretch limited resources.
“On my budget, I can’t afford healthy meals like this every day. Even this, on Thanksgiving Day, it’s a good thing to be here,” said Christiane Gamos, a Manna Meal diner.
Manna Meal operates with a small staff, and depends every day on an army of volunteers who have pitched in for years.
“It’s part of our faith. It’s part of our upbringing that we have to give back to the community. We are part of this community,” said Dirar Ahmad, an Islamic Association of West Virginia volunteer.
And while a lot of people are having to work the holiday, there are no companies here.
“No matter what is going on in the world, I go home every day feeling blessed that I’m able to do what I’m able to do and to help other people when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Amy Wolfe, Manna Meal Outreach Coordinator.
The dinners come from cash and food donations, from a variety of sources in the community.
“While we’re here on Thanksgiving Day it’s important to note that Manna Meal is here 365 days a year, serving two meals a day, and has been doing so for the past 43 years,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.