01 Aug How Manna Harvest Builds a Poverty-Fighting Coalition with Good360’s Help
Warrensburg, Missouri, is a quiet town of roughly 20,000 residents situated between Kansas City and St. Louis, on U.S. Highway 50. It boasts a charming Main Street where the town’s annual Fourth of July parade winds through. During the school year, you’ll find the sprawling 1,561-acre campus of the University of Central Missouri abuzz with thousands of students from nearly every state in the union.
Although quaint and serene, Warrensburg is also home to an unusually high number of families living in poverty for a city of its size. The poverty rate in Warrensburg, the seat of Johnson County, is 27.1 percent — dramatically higher than the state’s poverty rate of 14.6 percent — according to U.S. Census data. One out of every 3.7 residents of Warrensburg lives in poverty.
Since 2008, Manna Harvest has been fighting the persistent problems of food insecurity and poverty in and around Johnson County. The nonprofit organization runs a food pantry and a soup kitchen that offers a hot meal to anyone who needs one five days a week. Each year, the facility serves up approximately 22,000 meals and distributes nearly a million pounds of food to families in need throughout the county.
Manna Harvest also operates as a Good360 Community Redistribution Partner (CRP). Typically, our CRPs run a warehouse that serves nonprofits in their local community by allowing them to access product donations obtained from our generous corporate partners. These non-food products include personal care items, small appliances, apparel, home furnishings, school supplies and office equipment. (Read our blog post to learn more about how our CRPs amplify the impact we’re making across the country through product donations.)
As a Good360 partner and a CRP, Manna Harvest leverages our donated products in several ways. First, the organization operates a 17,000-square-foot warehouse that’s open by appointment for local nonprofits to come in and pick up supplies to run their operations better. The nonprofit also participates in our Retail Donation Partnership Program and makes regular pickups of donated goods from 11 Walmart stores in the area.
Good360’s partnership with Manna Harvest directly enables the organization to live out its mission to empower other agencies and charities in Johnson County to address issues of hunger, poverty and homelessness, said Pastor Terrence Moody, its executive director and board president.
“Our main focus is mitigating poverty and helping the under-employed and the homeless,” Moody said. “Good360 helps us accomplish these goals.”
Supported by private donations and grants, Manna Harvest wants to serve as a model community program that can be replicated throughout Johnson County. As such, it’s particularly invested in forming alliances and working collaboratively with local social service agencies. The organization works with battered women’s shelters, post-incarceration re-entry programs, substance recovery facilities, agencies serving the homeless, among other groups.
“Our purpose is to serve as a catalyst for community-based initiatives that focus on the transformation of those who are financially challenged, or living in poverty,” the organization states on its website. “Our ultimate goal is to enhance the lives of our patrons by connecting their needs with services that enable productivity and promote growth within their communities.”
As an example, Manna Harvest hosts an event it calls “Project Community Connect” where it invites agencies and professionals to come together for one day to provide people in need with a host of services all under one roof. During PCC events, as many as 1,000 people come to get critically needed services and goods.
“They can get teeth fillings and extractions, haircuts, flu shots, birth certificates and IDs, and other things to help get their lives in order,” Moody said. “And Good360 provides us with clothes, diapers and things for the home to give out. In the past, we were utilizing gently used items and now we can provide items that are new.”
Through Manna Harvest, Good30 products also find their way to people who are transitioning from homeless into transitional or permanent housing, or people who have just been released from a prison stint.
“These individuals are making their way back into society,” Moody said. “They come from nothing and now they have an apartment with nothing in it. So they need household goods, bedding, furniture and other things to get settled.”
If you’re a nonprofit organization interested in joining our CRP program or would like to visit a CRP warehouse in your community, find more details here.