By. Adolfo Blanco
The cost of living for many in Manhattan, Kansas has continued to rise. For students, many have taken support and help from Cats Cupboard for their food and supplies. Of course, not everyone can be eligible for the Cupboard. There is still hope for those in need of a meal and products for the week.
Professor Andrew Smith, an Assistant Director for News and Sports Media, is actively involved with First Lutheran Church's Common Table, a coalition of churches providing free meals to those in need every night of the week.
"Ten different churches have come together to make sure that there's a meal every night for those who are hungry,” Smith Said. “It's a community meal. It's not for the homeless. It's just for anybody that feels like they need a community meal."
Andrew Smith assures individuals that they are not alone in their struggles. Many caring people are dedicated to helping, offering food every week. "Food is scarce in the city of Manhattan, and Manhattan is considered one of the lowest income cities in the United States, and it's the highest food scarcity place, but it exists, you just got to know where to go," Smith Said.
He commented that the rising stigma towards being seen as “poor” or “homeless” could cause people not to use the resources provided by the community. "Life is just hard for them. And so, I think it's an important service that still needs to be," Smith said. "Be aware of your surroundings. Understand that people, the kids sitting next to you in class may be food insecure."
One such person who is homeless, Earl Mims, has expressed his positive experience with Common Table. He explained that Manhattan has supported him over the years and how he appreciates the number of places that offer food and shelter.
"The majority of us go up and help clean up the stadiums after football games,” Mims said. “You get to meet a lot of different people that are homeless. Those guys turn out to be more of the nitty gritty guys. We know the nitty gritty are getting a lot of stuff done.”
He commented that he has faith and hope for the future for both him and the various people that are facing insecurity. The people who work for The Common Table are doing a service to the community.
"I'm still here another day. God has me here for something. Which is why all the churches help out. It is wondrous,” said Mims. “We're nitty-gritty people. It's awesome here, man.”
For Manhattan, Little Apple has extended its support to those in need year in and year out. With hope for more funding for the Common Table. The church community strives to serve the local people of the city as best as they can.