Manna House activities began informally – handing out bags of food to the poor and needy in the community. Since those early days, the organization expanded to provide a full range of services that advocate for the poor and homeless in the area.

Date of Incorporation as Midtown Churches Community Association, Inc.

June 24, 1966

June 24, 1966

Midtown Churches Community Association, Inc. Soup Kitchen Opens

February 26, 1973

1973    /    Manna House’s predecessor organization, Midtown Churches Association, opened a soup kitchen to assist the many community members who were knocking on church doors asking for food. The original location was in a row house on St. Paul Street. In 1986 the location moved to North and Calvert.

Volunteer Awards Dinner

February 24, 1985

Volunteer Awards Dinner

1985   /   Awards being presented at annual Volunteer Dinner.

Soup Plus Advocacy Program Created

February 26, 1986

1986    /    A grant from Hands Across America allowed the association to launch a supplemental program called “Soup Plus Advocacy.” Soup Plus Advocacy reached out to agencies city-wide to locate the resources that its clients needed.

Emergency Church Shelters Opened

December 26, 1986

1986-1944    /    In the winter, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, and Brown Memorial Church opened the Emergency Shelter Program to provide 175 beds to homeless men, women, and children. In all, 350,000 bed nights were provided.

Transitional Housing Program

February 26, 1987

1987-2004    /    To carry out a transitional housing program, in 1987, the association rented an apartment house, and then in 1988, purchased a home to house families for 12-18 months. For the duration of transitional housing program, 36 families received shelter.

Soup Kitchen and Administrative Offices Move

February 26, 1989

Soup Kitchen and Administrative Offices Move

1989    /    The soup kitchen and administrative offices move to their current location at 435 E. 25th Street.

Literacy Programs and Mentoring, Education, Employability Training (MEET)

June 26, 1989

1989-1996    /    The Maryland State Department of Education provided funding to train individuals who wanted to become mentors. A Mentoring Handbook was created. Both the Literacy and MEET programs operated within the shelters and soup kitchen.

A Dedicated Volunteer

February 24, 1990

A Dedicated Volunteer

1990   /   Aaron Bloom volunteering his time with Manna House in the kitchen. Aaron still comes to Manna House every Tuesday to help out wherever he is needed.

Extra Care Program

February 26, 1990

1990-1993    /    In 1989, a citywide committee working with the Department of Social Services, Visiting Nurses Association, and others, began a motel program to address the lack of shelter for homeless persons being discharged from the hospital. A grant from the State of Maryland allowed the purchase of a nursing home for an Extra Care Program that included: 24-hour staff, meals, and medical personnel. Unfortunately the project was discontinued because the building suffered extensive damage after it became the target for break-ins and vandalism.

Midtown Churches Community Association, Inc. Becomes Manna House, Inc.

February 26, 1994

1994    /    Manna House, Inc. becomes the new name for the Midtown Churches Community Association, Inc. The new name better reflected the involvement of the community in the organization. In addition, an expanded governing board formed, a diverse group with one central goal of helping the clients.

Rev. Dr. Emora Branna

February 24, 1995

Rev. Dr. Emora Branna

1995   /   Rev. Dr. Emora Brannan, a seminary professor, volunteering at Manna House. Over the years, Rev. Brannan has developed a close personal connection with Manna House and  is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Manna House.


February 26, 2000

2000-2005    /    In 2000, Manna House was gifted the adjacent building for the express purpose of providing additional services to clients. A Drop-In Center was opened for clients following their morning meal. Generous grants from the ABELL Foundation, Northern Community Foundation, Atholton Donor Advised Fund, France-Merrick Foundation, and The Goldsmith Family Foundation funded the expansion to combine the two buildings. The expansion created a larger dining room, clothing room, meeting room, hospitality room, showers for clients, laundry room, elevator and sprinkler system. In April 2005 the work was completed and the additional services began.

Men’s Health Project

February 26, 2011

2011-2015    /    The Manna House Men’s Health Project was a partnership with Baltimore City Health Department, Health Disparities Initiative. It used the “barber shop engagement” approach, because barbershops are uniquely positioned for health outreach to African American men. Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOW) engaged with underserved minority men waiting for services at the barber shops, assessed their health needs, assisted them in obtaining valid identification documents, enrolled them in a health care insurance program as needed, connected them to a health care provider, made needed referrals and provided transportation to and from appointments.

Progress Review

June 26, 2015

2015    /    By 2015, Manna House was serving more than 60,000 meal annually. This population is expected to grow. Once again, the Board of Directors has assessed that Manna House has outgrown its home space. Considerable discussion is underway to plan the space for Manna House’s 2nd one-half century.

Manna House is once again expanding. Find out more about our renovations and addition and donate today to our capital campaign.