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From Don Fornoff, Bishop’s Taskforce on Homelessness:

What to do for our unhoused neighbors? Such a confusing mess of activities, it can get to be downright annoying. Washington State has provided money for affordable housing. Localities provide services. Non-profits and faith communities do what they can to take care of needs which are different city block from city block and town area from town area. The Taskforce group, which gathers once a month by Zoom on a Saturday to survey challenges and problem-solving, is also vexed at times by the size of the unhoused problem. And the attendant maze of contributory issues. So we have produced a list of parish outreaches, identified those people and organizations who try to lead the way towards solutions, and written out information our parishes can use. We also have a website. So, I go back to one of the most basic actions to take.

How about Manna Bags?

The Task Force was gifted with a list of items for Manna Bags by St. John’s Episcopal Church of Gig Harbor. It is simple, can be easily augmented with contributions, and provides an opportunity for the giver to make genuine contact with the unhoused individual. Thank you, St. John’s. Here is the list:

  • Bottled water;
  • Juice bag;
  • Washcloth;
  • Wool/blend socks;
  • Plastic utensils;
  • Baby wipes;
  • Body wash (liquid);
  • Toothbrush/small tube of toothpaste;
  • Feminine napkins;
  • One-gallon zip-lock bags;
  • Medium kitchen garbage bag (13 gal.);
  • Vienna sausages or tuna/salmon (in the easy open packages);
  • Raisins;
  • Applesauce and fruit cup;
  • Granola bars (soft only, many people who are homeless or low income have not had access to proper dental care); and,
  • Bible or a copy of a verse or two (some places that St. J’s has placed the bags have asked that we don’t add these, as they are secular).

*A previous piece outlined identity pouches that St. Paul’s, Bellingham has had good success with, which complements the above.

As always, you dear readers are also encouraged to contact members of the Taskforce. Don Fornoff: And go to our web site:

Giving thanks to God, I remain,
Don Fornoff

Manna Bags for Unhoused Neighbors

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