Programs and Services
Soup Plus Drop-in Center
Manna House began serving the poor and homeless of Baltimore as Midtown Churches Community Association. (MCCA) in 1967. Since the inception of the agency we have embraced the holistic approach for providing services. Tending to the clients physical, emotional, and/or spiritual needs is part of this approach. Every client is different and struggling with the different hurdles which are in front of them. Some are struggling with the poverty that they are living in and many have additional struggles dealing with mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, abuse, as well as other stressors.
The Drop-In-Center provides services beginning with the morning meal from 8.30 to 10:15 am (Monday through Saturday) and continues from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m (Monday through Friday). We serve an average of 176 men, women and children everyday. The meal we serve may be eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, fruit and coffee, or it may be chicken cordon blue with all the trimmings. The menu is largely dependant on the donations that we receive.
During the Drop-In-Center hours, many services are provides. Among other services, clients are given access to a phone to make important phone calls, given the chance to fill out a clothing form to request a bag of clothes (clothes which have been donated to Manna House and sorted by volunteers), given the chance to take a nice warm shower with toiletries provided, provided with food vouchers to a local food pantry, assisted with applying for birth certificates/ID's, assistance with completing paperwork, given bus tokens for documented appointments, and access to case management. Many clients just need someone who will listen to them, without being judgmental . . . that can be the biggest service of them all!
A Case Manager in the Drop-in Center
For those clients who are ready for a change and ready to take that step to regaining their independence, case management is ready and waiting for them. This could be taking the step to get sober, the step to obtain education/employment, the step to obtain entitlements, or a step to obtaining their own housing among others. Working with a case manager affords the client more time with the case manager and one on one focus with the client to find out the needs of the client and work towards obtaining the healthiest lifestyle for the client. It just takes the client making the first step to their future.
Upon entering into case management an intake is done well as an action plan. It is at this time that the case manager and client talk in depth about the clients' short term and long term goals. Plans of action are then formed as to how to accomplish these goals. Accomplishing even the simplest goal is extremely important as it is those accomplishments that help to increase the self esteem of the client.
Some examples of things done in case management are applying for and successfully obtaining entitlements through assisting clients with the application for Temporary Cash Assistance, Temporary Disability Assistance Program, TCA, food stamps, and/or Medical Assistance through the use of Services Access Information Link (SAIL). In addition, the case manager may work with the client with the application for Social Security by contacting Social Security and obtaining a telephone or in office application appointment and walking the client through the process. Obtaining safe and appropriate housing, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, educational (GED/DORS) referrals, formulation of a resumes and assistance with job searches, and family reunification are also focuses within the case management program.
While in the beginning it is the case manager advocating for the client, a big goal of case management is teaching/enabling the client to become their biggest advocate. Through the successful completion of their goals, the self esteem needed to embrace being their own advocate grows and so does the ability to maintain the healthy lifestyle that they fought so hard to obtain.
Counseling Testing Referral
We were approved as a Counseling Testing Referral site on October 5, 2001. Staff members have attended Counseling Testing Skills Training, Level I. Confidential and/or anonymous testing is offered. The Ora Quick method of testing is used. Test results are provided within 20 minutes. If a client tests positive he/she is referred to primary health care and offered initial counseling. By offering testing at the soup kitchen, we are able to reach the clients who are unwilling to go elsewhere for testing. On average, there are 1-3 persons who are provided with counseling and testing services each week.
Men's Healthcare Outreach
In partnership with Baltimore City Health Department, Health Disparities Initiative we have launched a new program which is based on a prior program Hair, Heart and Health: Styling a Healthier Future for Baltimore, developed by cardiologist Dr. Elijah Saunders. This program uses the established "barber shop engagement" approach, which demonstrated that barbershops are uniquely positioned for health outreach to African American men. Two Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOW) will engage minority men waiting for services at the barbershops. The CHOWs will assess their health needs, assist them in obtaining valid identification documents, enroll them in a health care insurance program as needed, connect them to a health care provider, make needed referrals and provide transportation to and from appointments.
The CHOWs received thirty hours of classroom training and 10 hours of fieldwork. The training was based on the Center For Disease Control training manual the Community Health Workers sourcebook. Seven modules of the sourcebook were used. Samuel Enos, MD MPH facilitated the training; other participants were Ms. Jessica Moise, Cultural Health Initiatives Director at American Heart Association and Ms Angela Ginn-Meadow, RD, LDN, CDE., education coordinator at Maryland General Hospital.
The CHOWs have been trained and equipped to screen clients for cardio-vascular disease. Having completed the intake and assessment, the CHOW will begin the process of providing necessary referrals and contacts for the client to live a healthier life. If the client screens positive for cardiovascular disease, he will be referred to either the Total Health Care (THC) center for treatment or his private physician. Clients will be assisted in making, keeping, and monitoring scheduled medical appointments. Through education and advocacy for the clients, we will demonstrate an improvement in preventative care. We expect that there will be a decrease in hospitalizations, improvement in blood pressure control, aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medication compliance, smoking cessation and use of preventative services for diabetics (foot and eye exam) measured within 12 months of intervention program.
On Holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, volunteers provide breakfast for the clients Volunteers, members of the board, the Baltimore Hebrew Brotherhood and many other individuals cook, decorate and prepare the dining area and serve breakfast to anywhere from 200 to 300 men, women and children. The volunteers finish their day cleaning and preparing for the next day's morning meal.