Manna House and the United Way of West Ellis County are continuing their fight against hunger this September in spite of recent obstacles.

Manna House teamed up with Bring the Heat Tour and the UWWEC, vendors and sponsors to host a volleyball tournament, the “Hunger Games,” but did not receive the community response it expected. The nonprofit food pantry has changed its plans, but will not stand down in the war against hunger.

“Instead, each person that brings in the food donation listed food donation each will receive a reusable grocery tote from the United Way,” Manna House Director Sissy Franklin said.

September is national hunger awareness month and all month long, Manna House will accept food items that it lacks in its food pantry.

• Week One, Sept. 3-6 – Canned meats (i.e. ravioli, chili, etc.)

• Week Two, Sept. 9-13 – Hamburger Helper, Chicken Helper and fresh, uncooked chicken meat

• Week Three, Sept. 16-20 – Uncooked chicken and canned chili

• Week Four, Sept. 23-27 – Canned vegetables excluding whole kernel corn, green beans and carrots (i.e. cream corn, spinach, collard greens, etc.)

Executive Director of the UWWEC Casey Ballard said the United Way is excited to partner with Manna House and provide free, reusable totes to donors.

“Unfortunately, the tournament will not be taking place, but we are continuing to promote hunger awareness and aid Manna House,” Ballard said. “Midlothian is a wonderful community to live in and people assume that hunger is not an issue here, but that is not the case. There are definitely people here that need our help.”

The UWWEC focuses on three issues – education, financial stability and health, Ballard said.

“If we can help families put food on the table and free up money for other needs, we are meeting a basic building block of life,” she said, pointing out that hunger falls under all three categories. “Hunger is a part of financial instability, it hinders children’s education if they’re hungry in class, and it’s a part of health.”

Cash donations will also be well accepted instead of food donations, as Manna House can purchase food items from the North Texas Food Bank and has a greater buying than most individuals can purchase at a grocery store.

In its campaign to promote hunger awareness, Manna House is encouraging and assisting businesses, organizations and individuals in drawing attention to this issue.

Franklin said they want to “paint the town orange” by wearing orange, hanging orange signs in businesses’ windows or any display of orange as the official color of hunger awareness.

“If you want to put something at your business or an individual and want to promote awareness, give us a call and we’ll help you do that,” she said.

Manna House is asking its sponsors and vendors signed up for the Hunger Games volleyball tournament to continue to support its fight and help raise awareness through donations and displaying the color orange.

For more information about Manna House’s list of donations to receive a free, reusable tote or to ask about “painting the town orange” to promote awareness, contact Manna House at 972-775-1800.

Follow Aaron on Facebook at Facebook.com/AaronSchwadererWDL and on Twitter at Twitter.com/AaronSchwaderer. Contact him at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@waxahachietx.com.