Manna Food Bank is a local charity in the Borough of Spelthorne, supporting local families and individuals who are referred by agencies, both statutory and voluntary, and perceived as being in emergency need of food and household essentials. It opened in late 2012 after research showed that there was a need in Spelthorne for the services it could provide.

Now two years later, demand for its services remains strong. To date Manna has provided over 500 parcels to families and individuals in Spelthorne.

Manna is run by volunteers, who give as much or as little time as they can spare to sort the donations, pack parcels and deliver them to those that are referred. Referrals are taken from statutory organisations such as GPs, school link workers, social services and Job Centre Plus.

Local clergy, toddler groups and others can also refer clients to Manna. All referrals are considered, but Manna exists for families & individuals who other agencies [both statutory & voluntary] perceive as being in emergency & immediate need of food & household essentials. Clients receive up to two parcels, which are designed to last at least seven days each.

Donations come from a variety of sources; regular ‘food drives’, where we ask people shopping to buy something off the ‘Manna’ shopping list and give it to one of the ‘Manna’ volunteers as they leave. We also get regular donations from other groups, such as, local churches whose congregations bring one or two items to church each week, and harvest donations from local schools and churches.

Local organisations also donate money; this means that the food parcels of tins and dried goods can be supplemented with fresh food such as bread, milk, eggs and cheese.

A typical parcel includes tea, coffee, tins of meat and vegetables, tins of fruit, custard, rice pudding, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, jam, biscuits and snacks. It also includes washing up liquid, shower gel, washing powder, shampoo as well as nappies and baby food if required.

We also try to add suitable ‘extras’ such as sweets for children or treats at different times of the year such as Easter eggs or Christmas goodies like mince pies and Christmas pudding.

Manna was started by a committee of people from the Spelthorne community working together – we operate under the auspices of the Parish of Staines for administrative purposes, but we are a community based organisation that will serve anyone in need in Spelthorne regardless of their religious beliefs.

Manna was officially opened in November 2013 by the Rt Revd Paul Williams, Bishop of Kensington and Cllr Robin Sider who was Mayor at the time. The Bishop revisited the project in June 2014, when he commented on the progress that had been made and the significant difference the dedicated team of volunteers was making in supporting people who suddenly find themselves in need across Spelthorne

If you want to know more about Manna, please take a look at the website; www.mannafoodbank.co.uk. It will tell you how you can help.