Manna club collects food donations

The Liberty University Manna Club is a philanthropic weekly food-drive club that strives to decrease hunger and food waste in Lynchburg by partnering with local food banks and soup kitchens. 

Junior Samuel Heath, president of the Manna Club, started the club in his dorm. Dubbed “Fridge Guy” by his hallmates, Heath would leave his mini-fridge out in the hallway every Friday and ask his fellow students to donate their extra food. 

“For about a year I would take my little fridge out onto my hall. I’d just tell everybody, ‘Hey, if you want to donate a sandwich at the end of the week, then put it in the fridge and I’ll take it all in the morning to some place like a food bank,” Heath said. “That’s how it started.”

The Manna Club previously ran food drives asking students to donate their extra Plus Swipes. However, due to Liberty’s contract with Sodexo, students regularly using all of their Plus Swipes inflated the cost of food on campus. 

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“Liberty basically pays Sodexo for a certain amount of swipes,” Heath said. “And if students are using more of their swipes, then (Liberty) has to charge students more for their Plus Swipes, so the meal plan goes up.”

In the fall semester of 2023, Liberty temporarily shut down the Manna Club, which caused the club to go in a new direction.

“(Liberty was) still the (one) to help us because (it) loved the mission and the vision that we had,” Heath said. “They didn’t really have a system set up for getting rid of excess food; a lot of it was going to the dump, so they were more than happy to work with us on getting it to locations where we could save the food and get it to people who could use it.”

Determined to continue its mission, the club began partnering directly with Sodexo.

“We started collecting leftover food instead of buying directly with our Plus Swipes,” Heath said. “So now we work with pretty much every dining location on campus. They hold their leftover food for the day, and twice a week we collect it.”

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The Manna Club continues to fulfill its mission statement by working with local nonprofits such as Park View Community Mission and Lynchburg Daily Bread. Its members strive to shed light on the reality of those suffering in Lynchburg.

“I know for me at least, there were a lot of times I entered the community to see what Lynchburg is like; It’s real easy to stay in that bubble (of Liberty) and isolate yourself from the rest of the world,” Heath said. “We really want to integrate students into the community so they can see the need and be part of the solution.”

Students interested in getting involved can join on collection days every Tuesday and Friday. The Manna Club also participated in the Serve Lynchburg event April 27. Students can join the email list by contacting Heath at

Richards is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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