Fran Fluhler Director of Manna House Luncheon Recap
Posted on Wed Jun 14, 2023
Welcome to Warren & Simpson, where we are committed to serving the North Alabama Bar Association with excellence. As part of our dedication to the legal community, we organize a monthly luncheon featuring esteemed speakers who discuss crucial topics relevant to our profession and community.
Throughout these last few months, our luncheon speakers have included renowned lawyers who have achieved bestselling author status, former NFL athletes who now dedicate themselves to working with children, and even former Governors of Alabama. This month, we had the privilege of hosting Fran Fluhler, the esteemed Director of Manna House, who joined us as a distinguished guest speaker.
Before the inception of Manna House, Fran's journey began with a profound act of kindness rooted in a close friendship. Approached by her friend, who was struggling to access food stamps and needed assistance gathering groceries, Fran readily agreed to accompany her to a local food donation center. It was during this visit that Fran's true calling was revealed to her by a volunteer who proclaimed, "you have a calling for food."
Inspired by this encounter, Fran returned to the food pantry the following weekend, this time with her three children, and engaged in a transformative conversation with the same volunteer. Once again, the volunteer affirmed Fran's calling, stating that she possessed the ability to distribute food within the community. Empowered by this realization, Fran resolved to take action.
Her journey began with a call to the Department of Human Resources (DHR), where she notified them of her intention to deliver groceries to those in need throughout the communities. During this call, DHR inquired about the ministry she was associated with, to which Fran explained that she was not currently affiliated with any specific ministry. Nevertheless, recognizing Fran's profound desire to serve the community, DHR bestowed upon her the title of a "heart ministry."
As Fran continued her mission to provide sustenance to the community, she recognized the need for additional freezers to preserve perishable goods. Seeking professional assistance, Fran enlisted an electrician's expertise, who advised against installing more freezers, warning that it could jeopardize her home's safety. It was at this moment that Fran fully comprehended the pressing necessity for her service.
At this juncture, Manna House was born, with Fran initially distributing food from her own residence. During one fortuitous day, while en route to the dentist, Fran passed a building that her father had once worked at during his tenure with NASA. Curiosity piqued, she decided to stop by and inquire about the location. During her visit, she discovered that the building had no current occupants, and the person giving her the tour revealed a surplus of abandoned freezers left behind by the previous tenant, the government.
Sharing her vision for the building with her tour guide, Fran encountered skepticism regarding the community's support for her noble initiative. The area surrounding the building was undergoing a revitalization process, and there were concerns about the individuals her service would attract. Despite these reservations, Fran secured a six-month lease for the space as a trial period, initiating the cleaning and preparation process.
During the transformation of the building into what would become Manna House, Fran encountered a homeless man while working alongside a crew of volunteers. Engaging in a conversation with him, she discovered that the community required more than just sustenance—it needed friendship, compassion, and a sense of belonging. Recognizing the need for additional assistance, Fran provided employment opportunities as construction workers, offering not only food and a community but also a means of income. This marked the beginning of a profound transformation within the hearts of the community.
At Manna House, the motto is "Give, Serve, and Love." In addition to their food assistance program, they offer a comprehensive range of programs dedicated to aiding adults and children in Madison County. Please take a moment of your day to visit https://www.mymannahouse.com and see how you can help.
We again would like to thank Fran so much for being a part of our luncheon. What an amazing human being! If you are interested in being a guest speaker at one of our future events, please don't hesitate to contact us.