Several of you have been following intently the exciting development of our combined project of feeding families with Elijahâ€™s Promise Soup Kitchen. It has been three years of planning and, it is hard to believe it, but we are about to open our doors for the first time on Feb 19th! In fact, the intensity of the last few months has been a bit surprising, since it all started out so slowly. We have been meeting and emailing excitedly with Lisanne Finston â€“ Director of Elijahâ€™s Promise, Yvette Molina â€“ Director of Community Health Services for Elijahâ€™s Promise, and even Robert Wood Johnsonâ€™s University Hospitalâ€™s Community Health Promotion Program through the good support of Mariam Merced, who are new on the scene with our project; however, through their support various health education opportunities will be made available to the families while they come for dinner.
Ethel Salamone came up with a name, which we all felt spoke of what our mission is for this feeding initiative: HOUSE OF MANNA. For some of us, it reminds us of the meal provided in the desert by God. When the Israelites and Moses were wandering through the desert after their supplies had been exhausted, God provided them with that strange substance called manna. They collected it every morning just at dawn.
Furthermore, we did not want to call the project a â€˜soup kitchenâ€™, since we did not want folks to interpret this as an institution. Moreover, the meals, which will be provided, mean more than sustenance. Our mission is to provide healthy, well-rounded meals to feed families in a safe environment where they are able to gather at one table.Â We hope that families will feel as if they were at home.
We plan to use the china, metal utensils, and re-usable plastic cups so that families have a table set before them as if this were a special meal. A team of volunteers from the Womenâ€™s Guild (Erie Beemsterboer, Joan Fekete, and Janet Waanders) cleaned and organized a special section in the church house kitchen, where the supplies and table settings for the House of Manna can be found.
Of course, there will be some adjustment coming upon us as the House of Manna gets underway. However, we are walking forward with many hopes and excitement that this is the real work of the church of Jesus Christ. As the volunteers are being solicited to set the family tables and then clean them, we pray that you will choose a night or even a Saturday to come and serve.