Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Manna on Main St. Community

The motto of Manna on Main Street, the soup kitchen and food cupboard on Main Street in Lansdale, is "That everyone be fed." Monday through Saturday, the organization and its volunteers serve two meals - lunch from 10 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. and dinner from 4 - 5:15 p.m. Also, on Sundays they serve one meal from noon through 1:30 p.m.

Manna also attracts volunteers from all types of community organizations. On the third Saturday of each month, youth from the North Penn Mosque prepare and serve dinner at Manna.  The menu this past Saturday included Chicken Curry, Vegetable Spaghetti, Egg Curry and rice. The North Penn Mosque boys group is in charge of preparing the meal, assisted by Tahmina Islam, of Lansdale (below).

Together the six or seven boys prepare a meal for 60 people, the standard quantity Manna strives to serve at each meal.

Below, Saqib Hossin, 16, of Lansdale, who is also a student at North Penn High School, tends to the vegetables that would later be added to the prepared spaghetti.
Below, two of the boys deshell eggs for the Egg Curry.

"In addition to learning how to cook, it's a great experience to help people who don't have the means to feed for themselves," Mohammad Hossain, 18, said. 

When the boys finish preparing the meal the girls from North Penn Mosque come in to serve the clientele attending Saturday night dinner.

Manna on Main Street is always looking for volunteers to serve meals, stock the food cupboard and also donations to the food cupboard. Visit their website for more information.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Knights for Life Beef and Beer

Sometimes life ends too soon and in those moments those surrounding the void have a choice in how best to honor the loss of a loved one, neighbor or friend.

You may have heard about the group of North Penn alumni who formed the nonprofit foundation, Knights for Life, in honor of two of their friends from the classes of '83- '85 who passed away within months of each other. Formed about a year ago, Knights for Life is gaining speed. The foundation aims at providing financial support to individuals and families in the North Penn area who are experiencing crisis, illness or tragedy.

This upcoming Saturday from 7 - 11 p.m. the organization will be hosting its first annual Beef and Beer intended to "beef-up" their reserves of cash to spread the love to those in need in the North Penn area. The Beef and Beer will be held at the Presentation of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church at 1564 Allentown Road in Lansdale. For more information visit the foundation's website at With a capacity of 300, the organisation has about 35 tickets still available.

In just a year of service, Knights for Life hosted both wiffle ball and horshoe tournaments and a successful holiday craft bazaar.

"What's really exciting to us is often when we talk to our daughters' friends or others in the community out and about - they know who we are,"  Karen Rowland, an organizer of the beef and beer said. "We want to legacy of this organization to live on through our children, so that they can continue to help the North Penn community," she added.

The organization, now with 13 board members, is working on obtaining its official nonprofit status and when it does they plan to open up membership to anyone who wants to be involved.

You can follow their progress by liking their facebook page.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love last weekend

Working on Saturdays sounds like a drag, but this past weekend - my second on the job - I got to see some of Lansdale's love in action. I covered "Matthew Knoebel's Blood and Platelet Drive Bash," and was inspired by the scene. 

Matthew Knoebel is a 13-year-old who is battling AML Lukemia. Ever since he was diagnosed in October, Matthew's been in the hospital. Released just a week ago for a short break before another five-six week stint at CHOP, Knoebel got to spend his birthday at home and even found time to host a community blood drive.

Inspired by acts of love around them, including efforts to raise funds to help the family with medical bills, Knoebel and his parents hosted a blood and platelet drive as a way to "pay it forward."

Matthew high-fives his mom, as she finishes donating blood at the drive.

As a part of this blog, I will be volunteering throughout the community and writing about my experiences. To start off this effort, I donated blood at the drive on Saturday.
Sorry for not smiling - donating blood isn't always the most fun experience!

This Saturday, I plan on attending Manna on Main Street's Volunteer orientation at 1:30 p.m. Located right in downtown Lansdale, Manna is a soup kitchen and food cupboard that serves people in need in the North Penn area. In order to volunteer, you must attend a volunteer orientation. If you aren't free on Saturday, there is another Thursday, January 24 at 5:30 p.m. Hope to see you all there!

I am still looking for stories of volunteers and their service in the Lansdale area to highlight on this blog - email submissions to me at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The launch of "Lansdale Love"

With about eight months of experience in a fully-functioning newsroom under my belt, I've noticed what may seem an unsurprising phenomenon. Almost daily, the most popular articles on our site include police round-ups, accident stories and developing controversies. It makes sense - we all want to know what happened when we saw all those police lights earlier - or why our local police chief may no longer be our chief.

For example, as of 4:15 p.m. today's top stories included Police log: Pennridge area (922 page views), Police, Ems respond to call at Lansdale Post Office (479), and Fuel spilled, road closed in Montgomery Township crash (468).

I know we can't change those numbers but I'd like to bring to life the opposite more positive side of our community. I know for a fact there is a lot more love going on in Lansdale and I want to showcase it. Hence, why I created this blog. Our reporters can only cover so many uplifting stories so this blog is an opportunity to bring to life a lot more of that love - and hopefully, we can manifest some of those stories in full-fledged articles.

In order to fill this blog with content - I'll need your help. So I'm asking any and all in the North Penn, Indian Valley and surrounding area to send along their uplifting stories of service (photos and videos welcome) embodied as a nomination for volunteer of the month. I'll look through the submissions and highlight as many as I can then we'll have readers vote on "Volunteer of Month" to highlight both online and in our print edition. Looking forward to hearing about the shades of love in our community!

E-mail submissions to Jennifer Connor,