Manna soup kitchen has closed its dining room and instead will issue sack lunches and to-go hot meals from 9 to 11 a.m. at the back entrance to the kitchen, located at 1100 Avenida del Sol.
Manna also has temporarily suspended its client services that offered showers and laundry services.
The moves come as the Manna adjusts procedures to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
The nonprofit will partner with Southwest Rides to drop off sack lunches and hot meals once a day at the Purple Cliffs encampment.
Wayne Brown, a resident living without a permanent residence in Durango, said the changes will place burdens on Durangoans living without access to permanent shelters.
“In the morning, people went in there to thaw out and get breakfast. You could get coffee, a shower, charge a phone, and now they won’t let you in the building, and there’s not one case it (of COVID-19) in Durango,” Brown said.
Jeff Sutherland, with Durango Vineyard Church, said a church group of about 10 will be going to the Purple Cliffs encampment to take six to eight people in the camp to launder their clothes and shower at a north Main Avenue laundromat every Saturday.
The church group has been helping throughout winter at Purple Cliffs providing personal heaters, heating huts and breakfast burritos. As spring arrives and Manna closes services, the group will transition to help address other needs.
“It’s not just the laundry and the shower, it’s helping them feel like they’re part of the community and helping build their confidence in taking the next step to bring themselves out of homelessness if they so choose,” Sutherland said.
The church group is looking for volunteers to help. The group can be contacted at email@example.com.
In other actions, Manna plans to:
Suspend distribution of emergency food boxes to families and individuals. Instead, people in need can stop by during meal times to pick up what Manna is serving and take extra meals home with them.Work with Durango School District 9-R to continue Manna’s backpack program and ensure that families can still rely on those regular meals if schools experience extended closures.According to a news release issued Monday by Manna, the staff will take all measures to limit person-to-person contact.
Meals will be packaged individually and Manna will continue to ensure its cooking facilities remain clean and sanitary.
Manna has also put in place hand-washing station outside of its meal pickup area.
Manna’s administrative offices will be open only to staff members.
Manna asks anyone who wishes to contact the nonprofit to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or to phone at (970) 385-5095, ext.3.
The Spring Culinary Program, which was set to begin March 23, has been delayed with a tentative start day of May 4.
Manna will also close its facility to all volunteers.
“Though we appreciate those who want to help in this time, we encourage people to stay home and honor social distancing,” the release said.
Contributions to food donations are being taken online at www.mannasoupkitchen.org/donate.
With grocery stores running low, Manna anticipates it will receive fewer food donations. Manna is asking anyone who wishes to give or would like to ship nonperishables from Amazon or other food delivery services to send items to 1100 Avenida del Sol, Durango, CO 81301.