21 YEARS OF SERVING OTHERS:Manna House director begins a new chapter
For the last two decades, Daphine Tedder has been serving meals to the needy and operating the food pantry at the Manna House in Florence. On Friday, volunteers and staff gathered together to say thank you and wish her well as she completed her last day as director of the non-profit ministry.
When asked, Tedder estimated she had served more than 50,000 meals during her 21 years as director of the Manna House.
“What I will remember the most are the people who came in here to get a meal and said they would be back to give a donation,” said Tedder. “Some time passes and they get back on their feet. Then one day they show up here again, not to get a meal but to make a donation. That’s what I will remember the most.”
She said she could still remember her first day back in 1999 when she complained to then Board Chairman Alan Spearman about the condition and operation of the Manna House.
“He told me, ‘If you think you can do a better job, then go ahead and do it,” Tedder recalled.
During her sendoff party, volunteers shared stories about Tedder and expressed their gratitude for the impact she had on their lives.
“She runs a really tight ship,” said Jackie Admill, a Manna House staff member and Tedder’s sister-in-law. “She is a very driven person.”
Kathy Simpson, a volunteer for four years, said Tedder has very high expectations in regards to cleanliness.
“I don’t think you will find a cleaner place in Florence,” she said.
The Rev. Sandra Carter praised Tedder for her “stick-to-itiveness” and determination.
“What you have done has changed people’s lives,” she said. “Because of you, people have had food to eat when otherwise they might have gone hungry.”
Manna House Board member Bryant Stokes, who was joined by his daughters, Lauren and Caroline, said Tedder had a profound impact on him personally and on his family.
“You helped show me and my daughters how to serve others,” Stokes said. “I am beyond thankful.”
One of the highlights of Tedder’s tenure was accepting the 2016 Marion Medallion on behalf of the Manna House. The medallion is presented each year to an individual or organization for philanthropy and dedication to the betterment of the Pee Dee community.
Since it opened in 1987, the Manna House has provided warm meals to the homeless population in the Florence area. With the help of more than 90 volunteers, around 1,000 people are fed each week at its facility located at 450 Jarrott St.
Tedder said she was excited to begin a new chapter in her life. She said her plans now are to travel when she can and to work with her church, New Hopewell Missionary Baptist near the Darlington County community of Society Hill. The church is trying to become USDA certified so that it can sell vegetables in supermarkets.
Taking over as director will be Paul Jones, a former volunteer at the Manna House. Jones is an Air Force veteran and a culinary school graduate.
“This is a perfect fit for me,” said Jones. “I am real excited about the possibilities of expanding this ministry.”
The Manna House is always in need of monetary contributions, food donations, and volunteers. For information, call (843) 667-6077 or visit the Facebook page. Monetary contributions can be sent to: The Manna House, P.O. Box 13541, Florence, S.C. 29504.