Food for the Mind, Body and Soul

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Desert Manna
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

We are an ecunemical nonprofit. Our Christian faith informs our mission to provide food and services to those in need. We do not discriminate based on religion, sex, age, disability, or any other category. We do not preach to our clients-we let our work do the evangelizing for us. We rejoice when clients no longer need our services and are able to make it on their own. Our goal is to work for a world where no one is hungry or homeless.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

You take my life when you take the means whereby I live. -William Shakespeare

Synonyms for the homeless range from vagrant, refugee, outcast to simply bum. However, no matter what you call it there is only one definition…people who lack permanent housing. To be homeless is sometimes a choice; other times an unfortunate series of events, but never a best case scenario. That is why Desert Manna is giving homeless individuals the means whereby they thrive!

Desert Manna is an emergency and short term homeless shelter located in Barstow, Ca. It was formed almost 20 years ago by local churches in response to the city’s need to help the homeless and hungry. It started as sandwiches being passed from the front doors of local churches to its own large, established building in the heart of the city.

The most interesting part of this story is how technology and more specifically Microsoft and Tech Soup are helping Desert Manna carry out its mission. In their building filled with donated clothes, bunk beds, and canned foods are offices bustling with volunteers and employees sitting behind computers steadily working to bring more services to their clients. Homeless clients are logging in to Microsoft Word to create resumes and using Excel spreadsheets to get their finances in order. Executives are steadily searching for grants to expand the scope of services and recruit community members to join their fight against homelessness.

But all of this would not be possible without Microsoft and Tech Soup. Desert Manna operates on a shoestring budget and every dime counts. Donations of Microsoft products from Tech Soup have enabled the shelter to make things happen with technology that would have taken days and months with just pen and paper. The proof is in the pudding and is illustrated by Desert Manna’s annual figures. The data below represents their statistics for 2008:

· 613 homeless people housed which includes

- 120 women

- 83 children, the youngest being a newborn

- 99 Veterans, the oldest being 84

- 135 disabled

· 400 boxes of food commodities given to families each month

· 50 emergency food boxes passed out each month

· 150 showers to individuals

· 2,000 pieces of clothing

With all the good things going on at Desert Manna there is always room for improvement. If Desert Manna would be so fortunate to receive a grant from Microsoft it would enable expansion, advancement, and aid in the journey to end homelessness.

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