CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — The kitchen at Manna Meal in Downtown Charleston was a busy place on Thanksgiving Day, as workers scooped up the turkey and sides to feed hundreds in need for free.
“Well they feed you every day and they are good company, and they got good food. Without this there’d be a lot of hungry people in Charleston,” said Debbie Moore, a Manna Meal diner.
Like everyone else, Manna Meal has had to get creative during the pandemic. They’re now doing a lot of carry-out meals and even some deliveries.
Because of COVID precautions, the staff handed out prepackaged meals instead of the traditional buffet line. Folks could either enjoy their lunch on-site or take it to go.
“You know these are very challenging times that we’re in and I think that everyone deserves something special. Today on Thanksgiving we try to elevate it, but year-round this is our mission – ‘So That the Hungry Can Eat, No Questions Asked!’ – We’ve never missed a meal in 45 years. And we honor our history by preserving it,” said Amy Wolfe, Executive Director of Manna Meal.
And during those 45 years, Manna Meal has provided free breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Those who attend call it a lifesaver. Others say it is not just the food. Their fellow dinners offer companionship, to quell the loneliness of being homeless.
“Ah, I don’t have family. I don’t know how to do that. You know, I don’t actually know how to have that,” said Joel, a Manna Meal diner.
In addition to the daily breakfast and lunch, Manna Meal is also now serving dinner on Wednesday and Saturday nights. It’s located inside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Downtown Charleston.