Local crusader believes in a ‘Hand Up’ for all who need it.

By Katie Parsons

John Mandala believes that people are the most valuable resource. As the development officer for the nonprofit group Breathing Space, he looks for ways to give people who need it a “hand up” not a “hand out.” These people often include the homeless, veterans and ex-prisoners.

“I live by the credo that for those who are given much, much is required,” Mandala said. “In my own life, this is true. And I come across so many others who just need that extra sense of purpose.”

For six months, Mandala operated a food truck at the Suntree Business Center during lunch hours called Chef John’s Red Wagon BBQ that prepared fresh food daily, and asked patrons to pay what they felt was fair. If a person needing a meal had no way to pay for it, Mandala asked for an hour of volunteer time instead.

“It is amazing what asking someone to do a small task can do for their self-esteem, especially when they feel like they have nothing to give,” Mandala said.

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Breathing Space FL and Nikos Cuisine have partnered during this crisis. Don’t be bashful, If you NEED a meal, as long as they last, you are welcome.  3-4 PM Only.  Donations are accepted. Nikos is located at 7777 N. Wickham Rd, Suite 20, Melbourne, FL 32940. (321) 610-7385.

Breathing Space FL

One of John Mandala’s current projects is the care of the Indian River Lagoon. Breathing Space is all about giving people a sense of purpose. Working with the government and local officials, community groups and institutions to keep the waters clear and take care of the lagoon; is just a natural next step. In order to have breathing spaces we must all tend to our natural environment. John has been offered the wood he needs to fix the dock which is directly across from the church. It leads into the Indian River Lagoon. It gives people access to that waterway and a chance to enjoy the natural beauty there. It belongs to the public. It was given as such, by the Turner Estate.