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Effingham Magazine

Caring and Sharing: Manna House Ministries Food Pantry and Thrift Store

Caring and Sharing: Manna House Ministries Food Pantry and Thrift Store

Story by Cindy Reid


The Manna House Ministries mission is to help end hunger and provide assistance, in a Christian manner, to those in need; work together with churches, businesses, organizations, and our community to gather, store, and distribute food; and strengthen our communities by promoting volunteer opportunities and partnerships of giving back.

We spoke with Lisa Bush, Executive Director of Manna House Ministries recently to catch up and see what we can do as a community to participate in their mission.

Are you seeing an increased need for services?

Yes, we are. We see new families every week. More people are finding themselves experiencing hard times right now. Two basic needs, gas and groceries, have increased in price, making it harder for families to get by.

Does that mean you have an increased need for volunteers?

We always need more volunteers, especially in our thrift store, which generates funds to help with our ministry, which is what we are all about. We need help to pack the food bags prior to the weekly distribution on Wednesdays.

For instance, we need 800 bags packed for distribution and we have only 2 volunteers working today. We often have 30 to 50 volunteers on the food line which is a great opportunity to volunteer because you can see the reward of the effort, but it’s the behind the scenes work where we struggle.

We welcome both groups and individuals- we are a warm and friendly bunch and will make you feel welcome!

How do people find out about Manna House?

Facebook! We have been here over 30 years and it amazes me that some people just found us and it’s through Facebook.

How does the food assistance work?

Food assistance is offered to anyone in need. Our drive-through distributions are held on Wednesdays from 9-11am (except on holidays or inclement weather) at the Macomber Ball Park 1103 Lexington Ave.

To get help register on our website or in person on distribution day.

What’s happening with upcoming holiday assistance programs?

Christmas plays a large part at Manna House as we give away toys to struggling families with children. Right now, we are taking applications for family Christmas assistance.

Thanksgiving is a big community project for Manna house each year as we give away “Boxes of Hope” to over 1,000 families. In October we will preregister families for the Boxes of Hope holiday meals.

For all our holiday assistance programs people can come in to register, they can register at the drive through, or fill out an application online.

How did the COVID pandemic impact Manna House services?

COVID would completely change our world. Living through that time opened the eyes of the community to the need around us. It has also benefited how we operate; in that we now have less bureaucracy and have been able to remove barriers for those needing help. We see the bigger picture better now.

How does the Effingham community show its support?

We have so many great community partnerships and individual donors and volunteers. Whenever we need help and don’t know where it’s going to come from, a business suddenly makes a wonderful donation, or we have an unexpected new donor, and the help arrives. I am overwhelmed with how God blesses us each week so we can do what we do. God pours in the blessings.

Paying it Forward

We have had people throughout the years, at least three or four families, who used our services and are better now, and they pay it forward with volunteering or donations. We have gained 20 volunteers from this experience. It really comes full circle when you see this. 

Recently a regular recipient on the food line came in the office to let know they would no longer needed assistance and donated a sizable amount, to show their gratitude and to help others in need. I am humbled by their generous heart and by the blessings we receive every day.

How You Can Help

Our thrift store accepts donations Monday through Saturday. We can take anything usable except mattresses. Come shop with us- there is always treasure in there!

Host a food drive with your neighborhood, church, school, or community group. We recently received 60,000 food items from a school drive, which will really help over the next few months when we have increased need due to the holidays.

Volunteer! I will plug into your schedule; we have many time slots and days open and available.

Boxes of Hope

I am making an appeal to our community to please consider sponsoring a Box of Hope. For only $12 you can provide an entire holiday meal for a family, brightening what is a hard time for so many. Donations can be made in person, by mail or via a link online on our website.

What makes it worthwhile to you, the staff, and the volunteers?

We love helping families and seeing the smiles on their faces, because they are so excited and appreciative. Our clients are humble and thankful. I tell everyone, don’t judge- encourage! We are just one paycheck short before we find ourselves in line and we are blessed to be able to help. We are just the vessel for blessings to pass through every day.

Manna House Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Manna House Fast Facts

•          Manna House began over 30 years ago.

•          Manna House distributed over 1 million pounds of food to those in need last year.

•          They assist 800-900 Effingham County, GA households with food, clothing, and household items each month.

•          Manna House Ministries hosts several events annually to give even more to those families in need with school needs, Thanksgiving, and other events.

•          They have about 60 volunteers that give over 2,500 hours of time each month.

•          They are supported by over 30 churches and businesses in Effingham County, GA.


(912) 826-2037
|[email protected]
PO Box 633 Rincon, GA 31326
1210 Patriot Drive. Rincon, GA 31326