PRC’s NJROTC helps Manna Ministries deliver food
Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2017
Members of Pearl River Central High School’s Navy ROTC helped Manna Ministries organize and deliver food donations earlier this week.
Manna Ministries Executive Director Jameye Martin said her organization has an agreement with Feeding the Gulf Coast to receive the food donations, which Manna volunteers portion out to those they assist, and delivers the food to each recipient.
“Without volunteers, where would we be?” Martin said.
The deliveries are made once a week to about 140 families in the Pearl River County area. Food is also brought to the Raine Street Community Center in Poplarville, where volunteers in that area distribute donations to those in need.
Martin said Manna Ministries has made food deliveries to the needy since Hurricane Katrina. Founded in 1999, the organization also opened a health clinic in March of 2005.
Food donations from Feeding the Gulf Coast can include meat, canned goods, dry goods and cooking oil. At times those donations will include cleaning supplies or makeup.
“It’s like a box of chocolates…,” Martin said jovially.
Tuesday, more than 20 participants of the PRC NJROTC came to help the organization unload the delivery truck, organize the food and pack up boxes to be delivered to recipients. Conner Ryder, a participant of the NJROTC program for the past two years, said some of the group planned to help make deliveries.
Helping the volunteers at Manna Ministries is not the only volunteer work PRC’s NJROTC participants conduct. Ryder said the group of young men and women also assisted flood victims in the Baton Rouge area after last year’s flood. There, they helped tear out carpet and move damaged furniture out of the homes. Todd Ryder, PRC NJROTC’s senior Naval science instructor, said the group has plans to go back to that area to assist with rebuilding efforts in February.
“I really do like the smile it brings to people’s faces,” Conner Ryder said.
Other volunteer efforts the group of young men and women participate in include cleaning up around the city of Picayune and acting as the color guard in a number of local events.
Todd Ryder said the class typically has about 100 students enrolled. This year there are 96.
One of the benefits the students get from being in NJROTC is physical fitness. During home football games spectators may have noticed them doing pushups near the end zone. Todd Ryder said the students do those pushups after each touchdown, cumulatively.
Since about a third of the students in the program end up enlisting in the military upon graduation, they are already fit enough to take on boot camp with ease, Todd Ryder said.