There was no big announcement or rollout, but Manna Soup Kitchen has changed its name, logo and mission to reflect what the organization is today.
Now simply Manna, the name shift came after the nonprofit’s board of directors created a new strategic plan in 2016.
“We’re having so many collaborations, we’re more than a soup kitchen now,” Manna Executive Director Kathy Tonnessen said. “But we don’t ever want to forget that part.”
In 2016, Manna served nearly 64,000 meals at its facility and provided about 5,800 weekend backpacks for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at local schools.
But the organization also offers support services to those in need, including haircut and clothing vouchers, food bank referrals, tooth extractions, prescriptions of non-narcotic medications, gas vouchers, grocery cards and eyeglasses. Its garden, managed in collaboration with The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, produced more than 1,000 pounds of produce for the kitchen and additional produce for clients via the Manna Market in 2016.
The nonprofit also has a Culinary Arts Program that offers job-training opportunities in one of the largest hiring sectors in Durango.
“Part of the change is so that we are being more accountable as we are asking our clients to be more accountable,” Tonnessen said.
Manna now asks clients to volunteer around the facility so they support the organization that is helping them.
The organization changed its mission statement from “The mission of Manna is to provide, in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ, nourishing meals and supportive services in an atmosphere of acceptance and caring for those in need,” to “The mission of Manna is to provide, in the spirit of faith and love, nourishing meals and supportive services in an atmosphere of acceptance and caring for those in need.”
“It’s because this is more inclusive,” Tonnessen said.