About Manna Café Ministries and Kenny York
In 2004, Kenny York was a missionary in Nashville, TN who utilized his love for cooking by overseeing a weekly meal for the homeless and poor. In 2007, he scrawled the plan for Manna Café Ministries in a notebook. In 2008, he took the first steps toward launching Manna Café by taking donated bread and sweets—and soon after, hot meals—into a local homeless camp, along with friend Vicki, who is now his wife.
Manna Café was chartered as a non-profit in February 2009; fifteen months later, the Yorks relocated to Clarksville, TN, after area leaders expressed the need for such an organization. Three days later, the Flood of 2010 hit, and Kenny launched full speed into disaster relief via food distribution. A few days later, Manna Café served its first mobile, outdoor hot meal to 35 guests.
Since then, Manna Café has grown exponentially. One meal per week has become five, with peak attendance at 200+ people at a single meal. The Food Box Distribution Program (much like a large food pantry) grew from 200 food boxes in May 2010 to more than 25,000 boxes in 2014, and continues to grow steadily. In a single year, Manna Café distributes 2.5 million pounds of food to local families.
Food insecurity in Montgomery County involves more than 15% of the population (about 28,000 people). The percentage for children is 21.5%, a third of whom are not income-eligible for federal programs such as free school lunches. For this reason, our goal is to first meeting people’s basic need for food, and then guide them toward positive, permanent change.
In the fall of 2022, Kenny York went to his eternal home after a battle with cancer, and his wife, Victoria (Vicki) stepped in as CEO. Manna continues to serve the community at least six, and often seven, days a week. Toward the end of ’22, a new program (funded by the State of TN) called Our Change was launched. This program will specifically assist low- to moderate-income families with children.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Manna Café Ministries?
Manna Café Ministries serves people in need in Clarksville/Montgomery County through a soup kitchen on wheels, food box distribution, and other vital resources. Propelled chiefly by volunteers, Manna Café strives to restore hope, dignity, self-reliance, community, and the love of God through Jesus Christ. We believe that it is God’s will that “the poor will eat and be [abundantly] satisfied” (Ps. 22:26).
How much food does Manna Café give away to the community?
Since 2013, we have distributed over 1 million pounds of food annually. In 2018, we distributed 2 million pounds of food, and in 2022, we exceeded 2.5 million pounds.
Why is it called the Manna Village?
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. The same is true for restoring someone’s life, especially if they’ve lost everything. No single person or agency can do it all. It takes a lot of people working together. Sometimes it takes a whole village. Many people we serve need multiple resources, especially when they’re trying to put their lives back together. But here’s the challenge: even when agencies are willing to work together, these people still have to find a way to get from one agency to the next. This means that the folks who have the fewest resources have to drive from agency to agency for help — if they’re lucky enough to have a car. If they don’t have a car, they might spend several hours walking or riding the bus to organizations where they may or may not get assistance. Manna Café is just one agency, and as much as we’d like to do everything, we can’t. We want a community of like-minded people and agencies who are committed to restoring the lives of those who need to get on their feet.
What types of things happen at the Manna Village?
The Manna Village has seen many areas of growth and now includes three on-site caseworkers; shower facilities; an on-site emergency warming center for the homeless; a culinary internship program; and distribution of not only food but also diapers, clothing, shoes, tents, sleeping bags, household items, and hygiene products.
How many people are on Manna’s staff?
We currently have 29 staff members.
How many people does Manna Café serve?
Manna Café has seen tremendous growth from its inception in 2010. Within seven years, we were distributing more than 20,000 food boxes and serving more than 10,000 clients through food box distribution; additionally, we served more than 14,000 hot meals through our Mobile Café program. By 2018, those numbers were 29,000 food boxes, 14,000+ clients, and 23,000+ hot meals. These numbers have continually increased; in 2022, we served roughly 30,000 people through our various programs.
What is the Manna Village?
The Manna Village is the home of Manna Café’s main operations, such as food box distribution, storage, and office space. We still go to satellite locations to do various community-based programs, such as Mobile Cafés and Mobile Pantries, but the bulk of our services take place on-site.
Is the Manna Village a shelter?
The Manna Village is not a shelter, but instead a village of services that strive to bring hope and dignity to the poor and homeless of Clarksville/Montgomery County. We operate an emergency warming center in the winter, but not a permanent shelter.
How does Manna have money to operate?
Our funding comes from private donations, as well as grants. These grants are ear-marked for specific projects and programs, that help with some of our day-to-day operations, but not all of it. We are funded primarily through the generosity of private donors in our community. It costs more than $28,000 per week to keep Manna Cafe running, so every donated dollar is deeply appreciated and thoughfully spent.
Out of the money that Manna receives, how much goes towards people in need?
Manna Café Blog
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Second Harvest Food Bank
Manna Café Ministries is a Partner Agency of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Second Harvest is a private, not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization with a mission to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community. Second Harvest works with a network of approximately 500 Partner Agencies like Manna Café Ministries to distribute food to those in need throughout 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee. To learn more, visit secondharvestmidtn.org.
Help Support Manna Café
Your support matters! It’s the generosity of people like you that enables Manna Cafe to tackle the problem of hunger in our community! Visit our donation page to learn how you can be a part of impacting your community.
Manna Café Ministries
One of the best ways to keep up with what’s happening at Manna Cafe is through Facebook. Join our main page (Manna Cafe Ministries) for general updates and info or our volunteer group page (Manna Cafe Volunteer Outreach) for updates as to where we need help in carrying out our mission each day.
If you have questions or comments, please fill out the form below and someone will contact you shortly!
1960-J Madison St. #312
Clarksville, TN 37043