Manna to resume Saturday breakfasts

Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 12:32 AM
Tricia Logstonright, a regular volunteer, assists Kitchen Manager Jamee Smith during cleanup
after lunch at the
Manna Soup Kitchen
on Wednesday. The soup kitchen will resume
serving Saturday
breakfasts. It also will
offer sack lunches. The building will open at 8:30 a.m. each Saturday,
and breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The Manna Soup Kitchen will resume serving Saturday breakfasts thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Durango.

The soup kitchen used to serve meals seven days a week, but it discontinued the Saturday breakfast in early November to give Manna staff members a break, said Al Spungen, president of the soup kitchen.

Then in early December, the soup kitchen discontinued its Sunday meal to trim costs, leaving two days in a row when residents could not get a free meal.

The nondenominational Beloved Community Church has been serving meals on Sundays in the parking lot at Manna.

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were the first to formulate a plan and volunteer to serve breakfast on Saturdays, Spungen said.

"It's absolutely tremendous," he said. "We rely on gestures like this. That's how Manna survives, really - is on donations and volunteerism from the community.

"We're looking forward to being open again and serving people."

Grover Barker, a member of the church, said the church has a congregation of about 80 on Saturdays, and 64 of those members have signed up to serve meals.

They will be split into eight groups, and each group will work about three hours on Saturday once every two months.

Spungen will help oversee the operation for the first few Saturdays, but eventually the Seventh-day Adventist Church will fully take over.

"We're very excited," Barker said. "One of our goals as a church is to have 70 percent of our members be involved in community service of some kind, and this project alone helps us achieve that goal."

Spungen said he received a standing ovation Tuesday when he announced to clients that the soup kitchen would be reopening on Saturdays.

"As the weather gets worse, there is more of a need for somewhere warm to be out of the elements and somewhere to get something hot to eat," he said.

Beginning Saturday, the soup kitchen will open at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m., and church volunteers expect to clean up and make it to church for the 11:30 a.m. service, Barker said.

"It's kind of a social opportunity as well as a charitable thing," he said. "We're going to have a good time."