WELCOME TO MANNA!
Manna Food Project helps feed the hungry in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties in Northwest Michigan. Manna is a partner organization of the Feeding America Food Bank Network and is funded entirely through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Ten Years of Generosity
Petoskey United Methodist Church’s vegetable garden changes lives of those in need
Jessyca Stoepker | September 2018
As the heat of the day subsides and the sun begins to sink behind the trees, the serenity of the Petoskey United Methodist Church’s community vegetable garden can fully be grasped. The curious music of the drums and horns of the high school marching band down the hill makes for a unique setting as volunteers move through the planted rows.
The project was first initiated ten years ago by Charles Johnson, Emmet County Circuit Court Judge. The garden was meant to hit three birds with one stone: to engage church members, to provide fulfilling community service opportunities, and to supply fresh produce directly to Manna. On Monday evenings, the group gathers to harvest sugar snap peas, green beans, cabbage, squash, tomatoes, and other vegetables for Manna to provide to their pantry clients the next morning.
The process begins in March when the leaders get together and diagram it all out—from the beets to the greens—according to the size of rotating plots. Then they go to work. After seeding, they stick to a spraying and fertilization schedule. The organizers are thankful for Bill McMaster and Gruler’s Farm Supply, who have generously donated the seeds every year.
The garden with humble beginnings has turned into an organized group of individuals and groups from within the community, led each year by designated individuals. Jackie Rowe and Carla Weiskoph were the gardeners “in charge” this year.
How do you measure hunger?
Hunger is a feeling that can be different for everyone, but the term “food insecurity” is the best way to actually measure the conditions that can lead to hunger. According to Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM), food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live a healthy life.
We cannot tell just by appearances who among us may be struggling to make ends meet. One "bad month" out of the year can be enough to plunge a household into food insecurity. Lay-offs at work, unexpected car issues, or an accident may suddenly force a family to choose between buying food and paying other bills. Millions of Americans face situations like this every day that may lead to food insecurity and hunger.