Thomson First United Methodist Church
Sunday, October 22, 2017
To make disciples of Jesus Christ through active, Christ-centered ministries of love

Meeting Area Needs Now and Always

M.A.N.N.A. provides food, clothing, home furnishings to those in need in McDuffie and Warren counties.  It is supported by area churches and numerous individuals and businesses who donate their time as well as various needed items and money.  MANNA also receives support from Golden Harvest, the United Way, and other public and private sources. 
 
Eligible individuals and families can visit MANNA once per month for food, clothing and other household items.  To apply, simply visit MANNA at 421 Hill Street, Thomson, GA.  (706-595-3138)
 
Click here to contact MANNA about volunteer opportunities and ways that you can help.

From "We Care" to M.A.N.N.A., Inc

A Short History ...

According to local sources, the genesis of“We Care” was from an effort to collect and pass out Christmas gifts.  Mrs. Mary Claire Neal worked with Railroad Street businessman, John Bussey Clary initially to prepare the bags of fruit and candy that were distributed.  At some point the group apparently began accepting and dispersing donated clothes, and goods to the “needy” in the 1960’s.  The effort was loosely organized and relied on the donation of goods from citizens.  Stories indicate that the original operation was centered on Railroad Street. There is even one story of a shirt donated by a prominent family showing up for sale by John Clary at his Railroad Street business, hardly the intention of the donor. 

After a brief period of informal operation, there was a  realization that more organization was necessary, which led to the formation of We Care .   We Care was formally incorporated in April, 1984 with Bob Roper, Buddy Haddon, and Dave Dillinger appearing on incorporation documents.

Again, records are sketchy but We Care operated under the guidance of Bob Roper and other volunteers out of property located at 118 Greenway Street.  The property was owned by the Wilson brothers (James, John and Bob).  In 1991, the brothers conveyed the property to We Care, Inc.  The mission of We Care remained dedicated to providing food, clothing, and recycled furniture to the needy in the community.  Churches and individuals provided the bulk of the support.

The charity operated continuously until December, 2003 when Bob Roper and other remaining members of the board agreed to transfer the assets to a group of ministers and other citizens who were attempting to create a coordinating agency to provide aid and bring some order to the handling of requests for aid received by the various churches.

Members of the original Board of Directors of MANNA were: Chairman, Rev. Butch Baston, Pine Grove Baptist; Vice Chairman, Rev. John Prater, Marshall Baptist Church; Secretary, Mary Ann Cotras, Partners for Success; Treasurer, Bob Flanders, City Administrator, Rev. George Freeman, First Methodist Church, Rev. John Cook, First Presbyterian; Rev. James Ramsey, First Baptist Church;  Rev. Mike Timmerman, Dearing Baptist Church; Kelli Phillips, Department of Family and Children Services; Dave Dillenger, original We Care member, and Rev. Ron Lawson, Thomson Church of God.

The first director, Machelle Campbell opened the doors of MANNA in February, 2004, but in early spring was replaced by retired educator, Genelda McClain who proved instrumental in bringing the staff organization and direction needed to run the operation effectively.  She installed a computer system to coordinate client services, and emphasized records keeping, food storage and organization, and other sound management practices.  Following Ms. McClain’s death, Lynda Gheesling, a retired Librarian, assumed the helm of MANNA in July 2007.  She too has brought organization, and an emphasis on management and efficient service to clients.

Annually, the support for donations of cash, food, clothing, household items, and miscellaneous pieces of furnishings has grown.  In 2011, over 160 tons of food was donated and distributed.  Along with that growth in community support there has also been an increase in the number of volunteers who support the daily operation as well as an increase in the number of community groups joining in to support the charity.  Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions Club, the U.S. Postal service, church groups, school groups, and individuals are regular supporters of MANNA.  For several years, Glenn and Epp Wilson continued the history of support by the Wilson family with the aid of Thomson First United Methodist Church by organizing an annual “round up” at Pine Top Farms.  This successful annual fund raiser gives MANNA visibility as well as produces support for the charity.  Thomson Rotary Club teamed up with First Methodist for an Allan Levi concert that brought in several thousand dollars.  

The organization moved from Greenway Street to 421 East Hill when the City and County procured the old property for a new government center.  The new location was renovated and the organization moved in February, 2009 - nearly a month ahead of schedule.  This latest chapter in this ministry has involved the tireless efforts of two members of the MANNA board, Don Powers and Bob Flanders.  These gentlemen a secured a matching grant from the Knox Family Foundation and headed a successful capitol campaign for the required funds.  Individuals across the community volunteered their time and skills, and businesses donated many of the materials for the rennovations and improvements.

MANNA Board of Directors

 

First United Methodist Church
353 Main Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Bob Flanders, Treasurer
220 Lee Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Mary Wade, Secretary
1260 Scuffle Road
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Rev. Butch Baston
Union Baptist Church 
P. O. B. 1435
Thomson, Georgia 30824
 
Rev. Grant Cantrell

Sweetwater Baptist Church
1606 Wrens Hwy.
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Rev. Bobby Farmer
Thomson Church of God
1354 Wrens Highway
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Thomson Presbyterian Church
P. O. B. 398
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Mr. Louis Hoats
Department of Family and Children Services
307 Greenway Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Rev. Ginny Best

Young Memorial United Methodist Church
1711 Washington Road
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Mr. Don Powers
City Administrator
City of Thomson
P.O.B. 251 
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Marshall Baptist Church
436 Marshall Church Road
Thomson, Georgia 30824

First Baptist Church
253 Jackson Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Rev. Steve Stokes
Pine Grove Baptist Church
3041 Pine Grove Church Drive
Thomson, Georgia 30824

Rev. Mike Timmerman
Dearing Baptist Church
265 Main Street
Dearing, Georgia 30808