This is the 2nd post in a series of 5 written by various CHC HealthCorps Navigators about their efforts during AmeriCorps Week 2013. Jackie Wang wrote this piece about Master’s Manna in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Our kick-off night ended with Navigators exhausted from the long day of event preparation, but energized to make the rest of our week just as successful! Bright and early the next morning, we headed over to Master’s Manna, a not-for-profit organization that helps homeless, near homeless, low-to-moderate-income families and individuals in Meriden and Wallingford obtain essential needs. Master’s Manna has been a crucial community resource for many years, offering a food and clothing pantry, family dining center, transportation services, and more. The organization has also partnered with CHC to offer medical, behavioral health, and substance abuse services as part of the WYA Healthcare for the Homeless Program.
When the HealthCorps Navigators began approaching WYA partners for involvement in our AmeriCorps Week events, Master’s Manna was immediately enthusiastic. Cheryl Trzcinski, the CEO, suggested that we collect donations for items that are difficult for Master’s Manna to stock and for its clients to obtain. Our search for donations took us across the state, and we were surprised by the great response we received! Many vendors had a history of involvement in their community and were excited to contribute to the tote bags that we were putting together. We’d also like to thank the multiple CHC outreach programs, including WYA, Access to Care, Mobile Dental, and the Ryan White program, that generously donated some supplies.
Each client received:
- Tote bag
- Laundry detergent
- 2 bars of soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Medicine scoop
- 2 pens
- Small notebook
- Granola bar
- 2 single-ride bus tokens, allowing for a round trip
On the day of the event, Navigators assisted the regular crew of Master’s Manna staff and volunteers in multiple roles. Some passed out the bags we had assembled, along with additional food items, diapers, and shampoo. Others escorted clients as they did their shopping, helped sort and hang clothing, and manned the phones. Finally, one group ran a resume workshop, providing handouts with resume, interview, and job search resources along with the opportunity to create or edit a resume throughout the day. One client submitted her new resume to several businesses and earned a job interview, with the employer telling her she would almost certainly be hired!
We are all very thankful for our time with Master’s Manna. It was a great opportunity to interact with community members and support an organization that has been doing meaningful work for so many years. We hope that the clients benefited from our presence, and we look forward to returning to Master’s Manna for additional service in the future!
For more information about this fantastic organization, and or to learn how to get involved with their efforts in the community, check out http://mastersmanna.org.