MANNA Food Prep and Serving Cancelled This Month
Due to the rapidly evolving situation brought on by Covid-19, All Saints will not be preparing a meal for our MANNA Monday lunch. People are also dissuaded from travel to the cathedral to serve on Monday. We have had to make the incredibly sad decision to instead provide much needed funds for “prepackaged” food that the cathedral will order and distribute, possibly outside on the cathedral steps. The unhoused community, while always at risk, today faces unimaginable challenges as food pantries, feeding programs and support systems are diminished or closed completely. For those who feel called to act, please consider a financial contribution to MANNA, a program that feeds both body and soul. Donations of any amount can be made online. Please be sure “MANNA” is chosen as the purpose of the donation.
A letter from the Rev. Jennifer McCracken, pastor to the MANNA community at St. Paul’s Cathedral, with an update on what has been happening in the last few weeks.
Beloved parish partners,
I want to give you all an update on how the MANNA community is doing during this challenging time. We miss you all so much and send so much love and heartfelt prayers as you face this pandemic in your own community. Each Monday, when we gather in worship, we pray for our partners and hope you are well.
Wisdom continues to flow from the unhoused community as our folks teach us daily about how a global health crisis creates an even larger chasm for dispossessed people. Many are feeling abandoned by the city, most are suffering more food scarcity than ever, and all search high and low throughout the day for a place to use a bathroom. It’s heartbreaking to hear their stories these days.
With support from Bishop Gates, Dean Amy, and our allies at City Hall, we have been able to remain open at the Cathedral for MANNA. We are fully aware of the inherent risk in continuing to provide space for respite, bathroom care, and food for our unhoused brothers and sisters. As their resources have dwindled away, there really is no other place for our folks to be. The streets are virtually empty except for the homeless population. All the usual places where they find food and rest have closed. Those that collect money by holding a cup out are not getting any because there are no people around to give them any. For some, that means no food or drink sometimes for days at a time and on the days the Cathedral is open for MANNA, there is a constant stream of people looking for food.
What is the City of Boston doing for our homeless brothers and sisters? Well, they are doing a good job managing the shelter systems and preparing for an avalanche of sick and dying homeless people. Boston Health Care for the Homeless and Boston Public Health have set up medical tents near Boston Medical Center to test and receive homeless people who are unwell. The shelters have reduced their bed numbers to practice safer social distancing but there are still 200 men in one room at South Hampton Shelter. They have devised a brilliant color coded bracelet system to know who has been tested and when, and doing they are a great job tracking those who enter their doors each day. They really are working hard in those ways and my heart goes out to the shelter staff, doctors, and nurses. WOW. But, for those who live on the street, the situation is a bit more grim. I have been active on calls with the Mayor and his staff and communicating daily with city officials and Boston Health Care for the Homeless, to relay the needs and wisdom from the unhoused community to advocate for a safe place for them to be. MANNA remains open for those who have nowhere else to turn right now.
As you know, one of the core beliefs of our community is that we are all leaders and we all possess gifts to bring to the community. That has never been more evident than it is right now. Our amazing kitchen crew prepare food under strict hygiene and CDC guidelines and the MANNA staff is serving all the food. We have also partnered with some of the local restaurants who need the business, to provide some additional food for our community. Weeks ago, we moved to single serving pre-packaged food for our meetings in addition to the hot meal we continue to serve at Monday Lunch. This week, we will follow the new guidelines of Governor Baker, and have only 10 people per space. Bishop Gates and Dean Amy have given us full use of the Cathedral so we will be able to seat 40 people on Monday for a hot meal and can do more than one shift if needed. Bag lunches will also be available for those we need to turn away or who don’t wish to come inside. It’s a big job.
Finally, I want to express my deep gratitude for your generosity. Many of you have either donated food or funds to help support the abundant need of the community right now. I receive emails and calls daily with an outpouring of support. For that, I am deeply grateful. For those who may not know, there is a way to donate funds on the Cathedral website.(https://donatenow.
networkforgood.org/ stpaulboston) All donations to MANNA are being applied to the food needs of the community right now.
Again, we are sending you so much love and prayers for health and well-being and look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Our upcoming MANNA meal prep and serving dates:
Dates in 2020:
May 25, July 27, September 28, November 23
Food Preparation – Friday, 1:30 pm
Meal Assembly – Sunday, 8:00 am
Meal and Worship – Monday, 11:00 am