As Midlothian grows bigger and bigger, the needs of the poor, elderly and children grow bigger and bigger.

Manna Christmas saw the Midlothian Civic Center filled with clothes, toys, food and bicycles this week. And is was all given away in two days.

“This is the eleventh year I’ve been involved with Manna Christmas,” said Sissy Franklin, Manna House Executive Director. “This is the biggest ever and as you can see we just don’t have any more room.”

Franklin said Manna served 106 families this year with many of those families having several kids.

“We plan for this all year,” said Franklin. “If someone donates a dress or coat with a price tag still on it we tuck it back for Manna Christmas.”

The idea behind Manna Christmas is to let parents of children “shop” for items to put under the Christmas tree and to pick out items for themselves.

“I want to explain that the first five gifts each child gets are sox, undies, pajamas, a coat and a new pair of pants,” said Franklin. “Then we follow that up with three special gifts they have selected off our tables.”

Manna House has been providing Christmas for kids and the elderly in Midlothian for years. Franklin said there never has been a year when a kid or senior was left out.

“The people of this community have always given generously to Manna,” said Franklin. “There have been many times when we didn’t have it to give and God has always provided.”

Franklin reminded the community that giving will taper off after the first of the year and Manna will enter the lean season.

“Let me point out high gas prices, heating and cooling costs and medical bills are problems that hurt seniors and children every day in Midlothian won’t stop,” Franklin said. “While the faces change, the needs and problems stay the same.”

Franklin said all recipients of Manna House food and money are carefully screened. She also said — except for people needing food — recipients must be from Ellis County.

“Our food pantry has been full and our building has been packed with gifts and presents this Christmas,” said Franklin. “We urge people to call us to find out what our needs are and how they can help.”

Franklin also said cold, hard cash always solves a multitude of problems.

For year’s Manna House has pointed out that if everyone in Midlothian gave just one dollar a year, it would remedy most of the organization’s financial shortfalls.

“We urge people to come by and see what we are all about,” said Franklin. “The needs are here year-round, Manna House is here year-round and the blessings come year-round.”

For more information or to donate to Manna House call (972) 775-1800 or stop by the office at 210 West Avenue F in downtown Midlothian during regular business hours.

Manna House is partially funded by United Way of West Ellis County.