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Manna Food Pantries Gets Closer To A New Home

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Bob Barrett
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WUWF News

  Manna Food Pantries has taken the next step in finding a new permanent home.

If you stopped by Manna's long time location in Pensacola, you'd see the non-profit operating out of a few construction trailers in front of its warehouse. But that may soon be changing. De De Flounlacker, the Executive director of Manna Food Pantries, says the food bank has closed on a 4.5 acre parcel of land  at the site of the former Escambia County School District textbook depot between N. Hayne Street and N. Tarragona Street in Pensacola.

Manna's executive offices and warehouses were heavily damaged in last April's flood and since the storm has been looking for a place to relocate their operations. The school district offered to sell Manna the land even before the flood waters had all receded. "Superintendent Malcolm, who is a very active community leader and has always been interested in Manna, contacted us about it because he knows the important role  that we play in the lives of young children" said Flounlacker, who also said this is the first step in a long process. The next step is working with Townes Plus Architects to develop plans for a new facility. Then they will go for construction estimates which will have to be approved by Manna's board. If there is approval, then work could begin on the new location. They would also need to begin a capital campaign, which will be important as Manna has yet to settle its insurance claim from the flood.

There are no longer any buildings on the land. The school district had the old building torn down before the sale. Floundlacker says this gives Manna the opportunity to move its entire operation to the new location and build to suit their needs.

 After the flood in April took less than three months for Manna Food Pantries to resume service to area people in need. Since they started back up in July, Floundlacker says Manna has served over 5 thousand people in the community. Manna's next fund raiser will be their annual Pick-A-Bowl benefit coming up November 14 at Pensacola State College.

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.