Food pantry working to provide food and joy for more than 30,000 in Montgomery County

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- A food pantry in Montgomery County is working to give thousands of people a little extra push to get them through tough times. 

On average, Manna Food Center serves more than 30,000 people a year.                          

Every Wednesday, in a parking lot off Piney Branch Road, about 100 families load up their cars, carts, and their hearts.

 “This is supplemental food that is meant to bridge the gap for people that have fallen on hard times or are living on a fixed income or with disabilities, situations that make it hard for them to make ends meet in expensive Montgomery County,” explained Stephanie Hubbard, Director of Development and Communications for Manna Food Center.

From strawberries, to greens, and even frozen meat, Manna Food Center gives about 60 pounds of goods to each household in line.

“It ends up being about $100 dollars worth of food,” said Hubbard.

“This is a blessing of a program, it helps to feed many, many people, including myself,” expressed senior citizen and military veteran, Ida Chase as she waited in line.

Picking up free food allows the families to put money towards other things like medicine, bills, and necessities for their children.

“I came to pick it up for my brother,” said Valentina Cubilete.  “He’s sick so it is a big blessing to get food.  He can’t walk and it is very easy for me to pick up the goods for him.  He enjoys it and he always says thank you very much for the program.”

As they loaded boxes of food into cars, Manna staff and volunteers said they get just as much out of it, as those they help each week.

“As you can see, it is a lot of physical labor, but at the end of the day it’s worth it, you can go home knowing you did your part,” said Mike Carter, truck manager for Manna.

Manna Food Center runs on donations and need increases around holidays, for more information: http://www.mannafood.org/