Manna Ministries using mobile distribution during outbreak

ALABASTER – Manna Ministries is finding new ways to serve those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A weekly food share distribution outreach, Manna Ministries has initiated mobile distribution to maintain distancing during the outbreak, and starting May 30 through July 3, the weekly distribution will include a 20-pound box of fresh produce.

Volunteers package food on Fridays to prepare for the Saturday distributions, said Phyllis Harbin, director of Manna Ministries since 2010.

Those picking up food drive through a designated line, and items are placed in their vehicle, eliminating the need for them to even exit their vehicle.

“They’re getting as much food as they did before, they’re just not able to select,” Harbin said about the mobile distribution.

Volunteers use masks and gloves, and observe all recommended precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Harbin said.

Manna Ministries has been in operation for 33 years in Alabaster, serving not just Shelby County but also Jefferson, Chilton and Talladega counties.

It is the Birmingham Food Bank’s largest agency.

The organization is located at 333 Smokey Road.

Manna Ministries serves about 200 families each week with pantry, meat, produce, deli and dairy items, along with breads and sweets.

“In fact, it’s starting to increase,” Harbin said about the number of people served by Manna during the pandemic.

The extra boxes of produce being provided through July are available through an arrangement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to Families program.

Meat has been difficult to secure during the pandemic, so Manna Ministries has substituted high-protein items like rice and beans, Harbin said.

Manna Ministries distributes food for free, with a suggested donation of $3 if possible.

The organization is remodeling its headquarters.

“Manna is a 501c3 non-profit, whose heart has always been focused and will continue to serve those in need as we expand our current location,” Harbin said.