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Bethel Students Work at Manna House in Memphis

5/17/2010
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Students Mary Creasy, Lindsay Eubank, Alleina Rose and Kia Bell work with Manna House volunteer (and Bethel alumna) Lindsay Butler in the Manna House laundry room.

Ten students from Bethel University’s Human Services (HUS) 426 class traveled to Manna House in Memphis recently to actively participate in community service.
     Three mornings a week at Manna House, Dr. Peter Gathje, professor of Christian Ethics at Memphis Theological Seminary, and volunteers minister to the needs of the poor and homeless.
     According to Dr. Gathje, Manna House is not a homeless shelter, but rather a refuge that offers hospitality.
     “Those who need it have a place to shower, a place to change clothes and a place to visit with each other,” said Stacie Freeman, instructor of sociology who teaches HUS 426.
     Freeman included the field experience as part of the learning for HUS 426.
     “I believe in providing students with concrete opportunities to apply newly acquired skills and knowledge gleaned in the classroom to real-life situations,” Freeman said. “I try to incorporate service-learning experiences into many of the courses I teach at Bethel. To me, they directly apply to Bethel’s mission providing students with opportunities for developing intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically.”
     Freeman says the Bethel group handed out close to 500 cups of hot coffee, sorted laundry and distributed hygiene items. Students also cleaned Manna House after it closed, and they hauled sand for a current building project.
     “These students also delivered 10 large bags of clothing to Manna House they had collected from the Bethel community,” Freeman said.
     Participating students included: Mary Creasy of McKenzie; Lindsay Eubank of Huntingdon; Alleina Rose of Huntingdon; Kia Bell of McKenzie; Ellen Shivers of Trenton; Bretta Gore of Hurricane Mills; Javonia Burns of Nashville; Melissa Estep of Atwood; Leah Brown of Bruceton; and Eddie King of Greenwood, Fla.
     “My experience at Manna House was one of the best experiences I ever had,” said student Kia Bell. “Instead of serving the homeless, I felt like they served us. It was absolutely amazing to see how people who have so little have such a great outlook on life.”
     Manna House has constant needs including men’s shorts and pants in sizes large and extra large, large and extra large t-shirts and travel size deodorant. The facility is also undertaking an expansion project that will provide more space for laundry services and showers. Supplies for Manna House can be delivered to Office 110F in the basement of Burroughs Learning Center (the Bethel library). Monetary donations to Manna House can be made to “Emmanuel House Manna” and can be mailed to 53 North Auburndale Street, Memphis, TN 38104.