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Manna Food Pantries Resumes Service Next Week

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Bob Barrett
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  Three months after losing its building and most of its inventory to April's flood Manna Food Pantries is set to resume service later this month.  Dee Dee Flounlacker, Executive Director of Manna Food Pantries announced that service will resume on Monday, July 28 just a few days short of the three month anniversary of the flood.

Floudlacker said that some changes will be made to the way food is distributed. Clients will be asked to call for an appointment before coming to get their groceries. She also said that they will also no longer be able to distribute USDA Commodities, which is a separate food distribution system contained in the farm bill.

Manna began collecting food again a few weeks ago and the warehouse on Gonzalez Street in Pensacola was filled with bags of food that the staff and volunteers had filled for distribution. Much of the food came from the annual postal service food drive, which was held shortly after the flood. Flounlacker said that drive brought in about 77,000 pounds of food. She points out, however, that at their peak, Manna was distributing 65 to 70 thousand pounds of food each month, so the need for more donations is great.

In addition to the Pensacola location, Manna will be reopening their smaller pantries in outlying areas shortly. The Cantonment location at Allen Memorial Church had what she called a soft opening last week, and will be open again every Thursday beginning next week. The location in Milton will be open on Friday afternoons, also beginning next week. And the location in Jay will be open one day a week beginning in August.

Next week's reopening is a giant step, but it's just the first step in Manna's recovery. They currently have a contract for land on Haynes Street from the Escambia County School District and are determining if that location meets their needs. Flounlacker was adamant about one thing saying "we know we are not staying here."

To schedule an appointment for help at Manna Food Pantries, or to find out how you can donate food or cash call (850) 432-2053 or go to mannafoodpantries.org.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.