ALEXANDRIA, La.—The Manna House has been feeding those in need 365 days a year in Alexandria for 33 years and Thanksgiving Day is no exception. ABC 31 News Reporter Joel Massey shows us how they are preparing for Turkey Day and one man who helping to make it happen.
H Wendell Isadore owns a tax and business services company in Alexandria and for the last two years he has sponsored the Manna House on Thanksgiving as they feed folks that need a meal. He hopes to inspire other businesses to do the same throughout the year.
“I like helping other people and my goal is to encourage other businesses to do as well. I mean the Manna House is open somebody could step in one day each month and sponsor the Manna House. It’s a good thing and of course it’s tax deductible so it’s a win-win.”
Isadore says he enjoys volunteering and giving to the Manna House because he can see first-hand how the ministry is helping people.
“When I stand in that window there when they feed and to see the look on people’s face when they get a good meal, and it’s a nutritious meal, and they look happy and that makes me feel good.”
Executive Director Jessica Viator says that this year as of October the Manna House has provided 87,319 meals as a cost of about $3 per meal. It costs about $800 to $1,000 to sponsor the ministry for the day.
“We’re very grateful when we have individuals that adopt Manna House for the day particularly H at this time of the year where people may otherwise go hungry. We’ve had several people in the community supporting us for Thanksgiving we’ve had a successful can food drive at the Neighborhood Walmart on Jackson Street last week and it’s continuing. And so the public has really reached out to us.”
Viator says that the patrons are always grateful for the meal and those providing it.
“They’re no different from you and I. They just have different life circumstances, and we love them and we want to afford them the same opportunities. No one should ever go hungry whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas or any day of the year right here in our community.”
Manna House was founded in 1990 by Father Gerard Foley with the help of Olla Rae Chicola who knew the food business and donated the building which was her former grocery store.
Amber Clay and her family are a few of the folks still benefiting from their generosity.
“Me and my siblings come, and they are happy with what they get. And they have leftovers for later to eat and they are happy be fed and to come later to get some more.”
Jimmy Johnson has been cooking meals for folks like Amber for 25 years.
“I just like cooking. It’s a joyful thing for me to see that when our customers come and I have a meal for them.”
A lot of work goes into providing the Thanksgiving meal, but Johnson says they are ready.
“I cooked 17 turkeys and I’m prepping, getting ready to make my cornbread dressing and my green bean casserole and my candied sweet potatoes.”
Isadore has this message for people this Thanksgiving:
“Be thankful, help anyone you can, and that’s it. It is a holiday for giving. Give if you can. And those that get if you’re given to, be receptive and appreciative to the people that help you.”