BANGOR, Maine — A faith-based nonprofit with a history of financial problems moved out of its latest home after less than 10 months because, according to its executive director, it couldn’t afford to fix up the building.
Manna Ministries moved into 100 Center St. in early last August in hopes of more cheaply operating a soup kitchen and food pantry.
But the group moved yet again — this time to Union Street Brick Church — on May 22 because it could not afford to make the changes necessary to meet the zoning requirements for a soup kitchen, according to Manna’s executive director Bill Rae.
The group is paying rent to use the church, which has a kitchen and a small area for food storage, but Rae said it eventually will need more room.
“We are still searching for a permanent home,” he said.
Even though the group moved its offices to Center Street, it has been using the kitchen at the Brick Church to serve meals since its former headquarters at 629 Main St. was sold at auction in October.
“We’ve been serving dinner here and handing out emergency food all winter,” Rae said of the Union Street location.
Manna’s financial problems came to light in April 2016 when news broke that it owed the state $1.3 million because it mismanaged an addiction recovery clinic in Medway. The news led to a drop in donations, Rae said.
Some of the debt was paid off when the building was sold, he said, adding the amount owed to the Department of Health and Human Services also was reduced.
“The outstanding balance on the Manna account as of today is $1,293,763,” Samantha Edwards, DHHS spokeswoman, said Monday. “We are not currently receiving payments from Manna and there is no payment plan in place to collect the outstanding debt.”
Rae said after the statement was released that the state has not asked the non-profit for any money in months.
According to Rae, about 100 free dinners are served daily weekdays from 4:30 to 5 p.m., and emergency food assistance, which goes to about 150 households per week, is handed out from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
To reach Manna, call 947-7011 or write to P.O. Box 2763, Bangor, Maine 04401.