Adults and children lined up outside Manna House for the annual Easter giveaway last week. Hermila Moreno was there with her two daughters, Lupita, 7, who attends Wasuma Elementary and Anna, 4, a pre-schooler at Oakhurst Elementary. Both girls took their time, while hunting for that perfect Easter basket with just the right stuffed animal inside, surrounded by candy.
For Isabella Solis, 2, who attended with mother Betania Quiroz of Oakhurst, the Easter basket she held was nearly half her height.
Pat Sebring, Manna House clothing division manager, and her team of volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure 110 Easter baskets were filled with candies and stuffed animals, then carefully wrapped in cellaphane and tied prettily with a bow.
"Volunteers Dani Harper, Jennifer Busby and Marie Larkin put forth an extra effort to make sure there were plenty of colorful and fun baskets," Sebring said. "They went above and beyond."
While the Easter baskets were the highlight for the children, parents were looking forward to filling a grocery bag, selecting from chicken, mounds of breads, and vegetables.
According to Manna House manager of the food division, Bruce Bartlett, 127 families signed up for food. "We got a good deal from the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on the chicken," Bartlett said.
"The vegetables were provided by the Community Food Bank of Madera County, and Vons and Raley's donated the breads."
Manna House managers are grateful for the way the community has stepped up to help in their ministry, but the fact remains that they continue to fall short.
"What always does us in is that during the holidays, we receive lots of donations," Bartlett added, "and then those donations dry up during the spring and summer months."
In addition to food items, Manna House always runs short on blankets, sheets, towels, and pots and pans.
Because of this, Manna House board members have realized that they will need to hold fundraising and food drives throughout the year to supplement supplies. While upcoming Manna House fundraisers are in the planning stages, one current fundraiser is a quilt raffle.
"All the women are talking about how beautiful the quilt is," Bartlett said. "The quality and detail is absolutely amazing ... you can tell the members of the Sierra Mountain Quilters Association put a lot of effort into it. Since the quilt is a pink floral design, a little girl, teenager or woman would love to have it.'
The quilt, which will be raffled off Mother's Day, May 11, is on view and hanging at Yosemite Bank, where raffle tickets can be purchased.
Manna House is an all-volunteer entity, founded in 1982, for the specific purpose of providing a Christian emergency food and clothing bank to those in need. It can be found on Facebook and donations, which are tax deductible, can be made through PayPal.