For the third year in a row, the Ministry Assistance of the Near Northwest Alliance, or MANNA, is holding its big Thanksgiving Turkey Tailgate to fry 150 turkeys for families in need in north Houston. This wonderful event promises to be even bigger this year thanks to a partnership forged between the fine folks at MANNA and American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks.
“We are so thankful to this community for its support of MANNA,” Patricia Dornak, Executive Director of MANNA said. “This year, our annual Thanksgiving Turkey Tailgate will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 22, from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As a result, we will be providing a fried turkey dinner and all the trimmings to 150 north-side families in need.”
For the first two years, MANNA’s 50 volunteers fried turkeys in the parking lot at the agency’s headquarters. The new arrangement will allow for more space, as well as the use of Post 560’s kitchen and facility if the need arises.
“We offered MANNA the use of the property at no charge so the event can get bigger and more convenient for them,” former American Legion Post 560’s Commander Richard Voorhies said. “The organization does a lot of great work, and we are happy to help them.”
“The American Legion has been wonderful in allowing us to host our event on their grounds,” Dornak said. “This year, our clients will also be picking up their meals at Post 560 on Thursday. That alone will be a terrific change.”
As a nonprofit agency, MANNA’s mission is to serve the basic human needs of people who, because of age, education, illness, lack of income, or other crisis, cannot sustain themselves or their families. Clients come from all walks of life and range from infants to the elderly.
Since 1989, the organization has been helping families by providing emergency rent and utility assistance, food from its pantry, a vision station, and a resale store that helped with discounted clothing and household wares. Sadly, the MANNA resale store burned earlier this year but the agency is searching for a new lease and location. Commander Voorhies is helping MANNA find it.
“We are looking for about 10,000 square feet of space, and we’ve had a few nibbles, but no lease is signed – yet,” Voorhies stated with a smile.
About 28 years ago, MANNA grew out of a gathering of area pastors who witnessed extensive local needs. The pastors decided to pool their resources and founded MANNA with the goal as to act as a coalition. It was a winning idea. Today, MANNA volunteers come from 30 area congregations. Families qualify for their Thanskgiving meals through the MANNA food pantry. The agency has also partnered with the YMCA on W. 34th St. and allocated meals for 50 of their neediest families, and St. James Lutheran Church at 1602 W. 43rd St. for the 20 more.
MANNA still needs help. The organization is short on stuffing, chicken broth, cranberry sauce and canned sweet potatoes. Leader readers can drop off donations at the American Legion Post located at 3720 Alba Rd. from noon until 7 p.m. every day of the week.
“We want to thank Kroger for donating the brown grocery bags we will serve the meals in, Oak Forest Elementary for decorating the bags, and American Legion Post 560 for allowing us to host our event on their grounds,” Dornak said. “But mostly, we thank our wonderful community and armies of volunteers who make it happen. We could not do it without them.”
For more information, to sponsor a family, a food drive or volunteer for the tailgate, go to www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0844aaa823a5f49-thanksgivng.