The Manger starting food drive-thru service

Hollister nonprofit expands from feeding homeless to feeding all in need during pandemic.
Hensley is a member of New Harvest Church, where plating of the food will take place.
Hensley is a member of New Harvest Church, where plating of the food will take place.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring financial hardship to San Benito County, Hollister resident Nate Hensley has expanded the services of his nonprofit The Manger. The organization will provide free food with a drive-thru service on Mondays and Fridays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in downtown Hollister. The first service will be on April 17.

The Manger normally supplies food and other services to San Benito’s homeless who don’t use the shelter or other available outlets. Hensley said he expanded the nonprofit’s mission when he heard of the long lines to get food at the Community FoodBank.

“I needed to step it up,” Hensley said.

After a conversation with Bill Lee, executive director of Martha’s Kitchen in San Jose, he was able to secure food for his new project

“Our whole mission is to make sure people who are hungry get food,” Lee said. “People are starting to realize neighbors need neighbors.” 

Hensley said the nonprofit expects to provide meals for about 100 people in the first week, but added that Lee advised him it could increase to 600-800 people in the second week, as financial problems related to the virus worsen.

The drive-thru will begin in the Bank of America parking lot at 320 San Benito Street in Hollister, where drivers will then move through the line to New Harvest Church at 372 Fourth Street. Hensley, who attends New Harvest, said the church is working with him to get food out to those in need. Plating will take place inside the church.

Meals will be provided for all family members in the household, but only one person per family needs to be in the car at the time of pick-up. Hensley wants the drive-thru service to be as safe as possible.

“It relieves all the obstacles of getting in a car,” he said.

Other organizations such as the Hollister School District, Youth Alliance and First 5 are making efforts to inform the community of the service.

Hensley acknowledged that it can be hard for some people to seek services like free food, but he said that they need to know “it’s okay, come on out, grab some food. It’s okay.” 

To assist, contact Nate Hensley by phone at 831-297-0829 or email at [email protected].

The Manger also has a Facebook fundraising page. The nonprofit is accepting monetary donations and donations of non-perishable food.


BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is working around the clock during this time when accurate information is essential. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.


Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.