Midnight MANNA

A Night of Service and Fun

Saturday night is prime socializing time for high school students. But this past Saturday, from 9 pm to midnight, almost 100 high schoolers gave up that precious Saturday night to come and spend the evening donating their time to help address hunger in the mountains.

For the last eight years, Asheville Youth Mission (AYM) has organized an event that gives students an opportunity to have fun, and make a lasting impact, affectionately called Midnight MANNA. AYM Director Rev. Michael Poulos has been participating in this event since 2013, and knows first-hand how to engage a group of high schoolers around a mission of compassion and philanthropy.

“Midnight MANNA brings together a lot of what makes Asheville great,” says Poulos. “It’s a great way for local church youth groups and high school service clubs to come together for a common good. The awesome service work, local music, and food create an opportunity for young people to come together and hang out while doing good work for the community.”

Throughout the evening, The Secret B-Sides played an energizing set of soul-tinged music as students worked on their projects. To add some flavor, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack and other local restaurants provided food for everyone to enjoy throughout the night. The live music and food created a fun and unique vibe for the teens to enjoy while putting their hands to work on food that is being distributed across WNC this week.

This year, this dedicated crew helped prepare over 20,000 lbs. of canned black beans, carefully checking each can for quality and safety, labeling, and packing into boxes for easy distribution across the 16 counties of MANNA’s service area.

“MANNA’s mission to end hunger is directly impacted by volunteer support,” says Lisa Reynolds, MANNA’s Director of Operations. “These students are part of a very important volunteer corp who help make it possible for MANNA to distribute over 45,000 meals-worth of food every day of the year. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”