In 1996, Bev and John Lowe, two retired farmers drove past a group of homeless people gathered under a tree at an inner city park on a rainy cold winters afternoon on the way to friends. On their way home some hours later they noticed the people still there. Bev turned to John and said “Let’s go home and make them soup.”
This humble act of kindness was the beginning of Manna which has grown over the years. Today Manna provides hot ‘n’ healthy meals six nights a week at that same inner city park to up to 250 people with the numbers growing.
In 2001, on finding out that there were children in Perth that were coming to school without breakfast, the School Breakfast Program was commenced. This project aims to provide a substantial breakfast 5 days per week for the 40 weeks of the school year. In 2011, Manna started its first high school breakfast program with great success.
When the School Breakfast Program began it came to Manna’s attention that children were not only coming to school hungry, but also cold and wet because of lack of suitable clothing during the winter months. Manna’s response to this was the launch of the Winter School Uniform Program in 2008. Since its inception, over 3,000 uniforms have been supplied to students in over 40 schools.
In 2010 another project debuted at Maddington Primary School. An existing canteen that was not being used was gutted and refitted as a purpose-built cooking facility. It now houses the school canteen, the Breakfast Club, as well as the new kitchen where students and family members are taught to cook easy nutritious meals.
In recent years, Manna has also started providing meals to other charities including Shopfront and Emmaus.
In 2011, Manna began its special functions for seniors with a Christmas lunch for over 130 seniors. These numbers have grown to nearly 150 seniors at the each luncheon.