Manna Ministries Celebrates Christmas in Bangor 

As Mainers celebrate Christmas with family and friends, an organization in Bangor sent out an invitation to those in need of company on the holiday. For close to two decades, volunteers at Manna Ministries have shared a bit of Christmas with those might otherwise go without.As many in the community feel the pressure of financial struggles, this gathering is one that means so much to the people here.”Oh, it’s a hard time. We’ve never had a Christmas as hard as this one,” said Danielle Megalaitis of Detroit.Bill Rae, director of Manna Ministries, has been holding this Christmas Party at the Armory in Bangor with his family for 18 years now. He says providing for those in need, defines the spirit of Christmas for them.”The spirit of giving, the spirit of receiving, the spirit of thank you, and the spirit of what can we do to help each other out. That’s what it’s all about,” said Rae.”Some of these folks don’t have anything to eat and they wouldn’t have a Christmas dinner if they didn’t come here and that’s why the volunteers come back year after year after year,” said Santa Claus.Some spend the time as a family, like the Kings’ of Milford.”We come here every year. They’re used to it. We like it very much. It shows them the real meaning of Christmas,” said Willy King.”I believe that offering a helping hand and supporting each together up in encouragement is ultimately what Christmas should be about,” said Jeremy Leong, a volunteer from Hampden. “It’s definitely a humbling experience. It makes you feel incredibly fortunate for what you do have. I definitely recommend it for anybody that’s never done it. It’s an eye-opening experience,” said Trysha Jean, a volunteer from Greenbush.It’s an experience many folks here are very grateful for.”I think it’s a wonderful program: Manna. They try so hard to do so much for other people and all their volunteers are so nice. They make you feel like you’re so deserving,” said Megalaitis. “It’s a real good spirit to know that everybody’s having a good time and that’s the way it should be,” said Mark Swoboda of Bradley.