A couple of summers ago, we had the opportunity to take a small missions trip to New York City, with our kids in tow. During this missions trip, we were introduced to Manna of Life Ministries, located in the South Bronx. Manna of Life reaches out to the homeless and hungry and to those who just need a helping hand; they try to supply needs that, otherwise, these people might go without, such as food, clothing, hygiene products, etc.
Pete was to be our guide the day we went to serve. (Here he is with my husband, Dan.)
Several people from the church were there to help, and they told us that every week, people in the church take turns making soup and sandwiches for the mobile food pantry.
Our first stop was what they call The Garage, just an area of town where the shop owners will sometimes let a person stay at night, in order to guard their shops and keep them from being broken into.
I didn't get to get out of the car on this stop, as they thought it best Jacob and Jaden not get out here. Dan got to go, though, and I was able to watch from the car, as these men came out to get their soup and just be encouraged.
Our next stop was a shelter, called The Living Room, that was only open through the day.
I didn't get to go in on this one either, but eventually, everyone from the shelter ended up coming outside to get food and supplies that Manna of Life were handing out. The hopeless looks on the faces of some of these people was just heartbreaking.....it was amazing to just see Pete and some of the others praying with them, lifting them up. (The two men up front, on the right, including Pete, were with Manna of Life.)
Our next stop was a shelter for women and children. The families just came pouring out when they saw us come.
We were all able to get out and help on this one, and it was just amazing to be helping these people, to be giving them something that I sometimes take for granted, but that was so precious to them. We handed out cups of soup, crackers, toothpaste, clothes, books for the children, deodorant, etc. Dan and the boys even got some of the rubber gloves together and started making balloons for the kids all around.
Those kids' eyes just lit up, when they were handed a balloon. We made faces on them and decorated them up. A group from Messiah College was also participating, and they just stood on the street and sang for everyone. It was such a precious time. Then as we left we stood together and prayed over that place. (This is the group from Messiah with some of the Manna of Life volunteers.)
I can only tell you so much about Manna of Life, since we only got to spend one day with them, but I can tell you that they are making a difference in this world. You can watch videos about their ministry, as well. They go wherever they need to go, in the South Bronx, to spread His love and His truth. They reach out and take the hands of those who just need someone to pray with them. They now have a soup kitchen, food pantry, a mobile food pantry, a life skills program, and an outreach program. If you live in New York City, I encourage you to contact them; get in touch with them, and see if you can volunteer with them. If you're taking a trip to NYC, schedule a day to just go help out. We are hoping to go into NYC at Christmas, and I'm already looking into the possibility of serving somewhere for one of our days.....the blessing that God will lay on your heart and the things you will see, when volunteering in something like this, will change your heart forever, not to mention the impact it can have on your children.