Wastefulness Turned Into Hope
TPC Rose | YouthWay Ministries YouTube Video
Manna Market began quite by accident. If we had set out to start a program by developing a business plan, writing goals and objectives, and following timetables, we never in our wildest dreams would have envisioned it ending up where it is today. And it is still in its infancy. Who would believe that we could start out with no budget, and within just a few years be distributing well over three million pounds of food annually to people in need. We have seen God at work as the pieces have come together.
Manna Market got its start in 2008. “I’d like to say I started it,” says its founder Forrest Gregory, “but I’m not smart enough. I think God had it planned all along, and I was just obedient.” He went to the local food shelf to see if they could provide food for a program he ran at YouthWay Ministries. The food shelf agreed to help, if he would pick up surplus food on Saturdays to pass out to the people living in the trailer park around the youth center. He wasn’t thrilled about giving up his Saturday mornings, but he agreed to try it for a few months.
As he began to hear the stories of people who received the food, he became aware of how much need there was in his own community. These stories were like the ones you hear on the news, but he never expected to hear them so close to home. Before long he was distributing food six days a week, and the people kept coming.
By January of 2010 the program had outgrown the youth center, and nearby SonLight Church of the Nazarene agreed to move it to their building. Other churches heard about what was happening and began to visit and ask how they could start a Manna Market. Forrest began to mentor those congregations to get them started. Currently, there are Manna Markets in seven locations in the Twin Cities.