FRESH NEWS September 2022

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank

Students are returning to school and for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, students and families will no longer have access to universal free school meals.

Learn about the impact this will have and what we are doing to alleviate child hunger by reading this month's Fresh News.

  • Back to School
  • Student Taste Test Panel
  • White House Conference on Hunger
  • Everyday Actions: September Livestream
  • Empty Bowls
  • Hunger Action Month
  • Ingles Day at Mountain State Fair
  • Outpace Hunger

September is Hunger Action Month. What are you doing this month to take action against hunger?

Keep reading to learn about our upcoming livestream and all of the other ways you can participate in Hunger Action Month.

The Added Cost

of Returning to School 

The Discontinuation of Universal Free School Meals & The Impact It Has on Children in WNC

For many children, there is an excitement in the air as they return to school for the new school year. Students are eager to reunite with friends they have not seen for months, while others are excited to learn what it is like to be in the next grade level. Many children, however, are excited to return to school because it means that they will again have regular access to food.

Consistent access to food is essential for a child's development, both physically and mentally. According to Feeding America, children facing hunger are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, experience development impairments in areas like language and motor skills, and have more social and behavioral problems. Simply knowing that there is food to eat relieves stress and anxiety, while allowing children to focus on learning, interacting with others, and many other important aspects of their life.

Keep reading to learn how the discontinuation of universal free school meals will impact families and what MANNA is doing to improve access to food for children throughout WNC.

The Journey of a MANNA Pack

Closing Children's Weekend Meal Gap

MANNA Packs are bags of nutritious food intended to help close the weekend meal gap students experience when school is not in-session and other resources are not available. Foods include ready-to-eat breakfast items; shelf-stable fruits, vegetables, and entrees; and snacks. MANNA Packs are available at no cost to students or to our partners across WNC that distribute the Packs.

MANNA works diligently to ensure that MANNA Packs are not only accessible to students throughout our region, but also enjoyable. Keep reading through our newsletter to learn about our recent student taste panel that is helping us decide what children actually want in a MANNA Pack.

Follow a MANNA Pack on its journey from MANNA to a WNC student by watching our MANNA Pack video.

If you are interested in supporting our MANNA Packs program, please consider donating or becoming a monthly donor to ensure children throughout WNC have access to food.

Increasing Healthy Options

Student Tasting Panel for MANNA Packs

In August, nine WNC students generously gave up a few of their summer break hours to come to MANNA for a nutrition education and tasting event. This taste-testing event was the first of its kind, and was designed to help guide MANNA’s healthy food selection for the vital MANNA Packs program that provides weekly backpacks of supplemental food to thousands of WNC students every week. The event allowed students to taste new foods not previously used in the MANNA Packs program, and help provide feedback to our Youth Programs for healthy items that can be included in the backpack program. 

The new foods being tested are lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar, and higher in naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These foods can be easily combined to form meals that follow the USDA MyPlate recommendations. 

The tasting was blinded to remove any bias students may have toward certain foods or ingredients. Students sampled three to six foods in each of the following categories: vegetables, fruits, entrees, milk, and snacks. Students used a three-point scale to rank foods. After each food category was served, discussion ensued and qualitative feedback was collected. Results showed that students either “loved” or felt “ok” about 68% of the items, providing ample healthy food options to include in the MANNA Packs.

We are so grateful to these wonderful students for their open-minded approach, their excellent feedback, and their willingness to help support MANNA’s ongoing goals of increasing the nutritional value of the food we help provide to children across WNC.

The White House

Conference on Hunger

The First in Over 50 Years

On Wednesday, September 28, the White House will be hosting the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

This is the first conference the White House is hosting on hunger and food insecurity in over 50 years. The previous conference led to the creation of essential programs, such as school lunch programs, WIC and food labeling. 

If you want to view the Conference, a virtual option will be provided. To stay up-to-date with the Conference and all of our advocacy initiatives, sign up for our Advocacy newsletter

Everyday Actions

Building Action into Daily Life for a

Food-Secure WNC

Join us on Hunger Action day, which is Friday, September 23rd, for Everyday Actions: Building Action Into Daily Life For a Food-Secure WNC. 

The livestream event, which will be held in partnership with Red Fiddle Vittles and The Village Potters Clay Center, will be a conversation with friends of MANNA on how they use their talents, skills, and networks to seamlessly incorporate daily action into their lives to help alleviate hunger for thousands of their neighbors here in Western North Carolina.

People who view the livestream will also have the opportunity to win two tickets to this year's Empty Bowls event, so be sure to tune in at 10:30 AM on September 23rd to find out how you can enter your name into the drawing.

Did You Know...

What Gifts MANNA Accepts

MANNA can accept a variety of assets, including but not limited to, real estate, personal property, business assets, and corporate holdings.

Supporters can also donate their car. At the moment, MANNA has an urgent need for vehicles for staff and programs. 

Nutrition Works:

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus Pasta Salad

Our Nutrition Works team works to provide our clients with recipes detailing how to create healthy dishes and treats with the ingredients that they are bringing home from our mobile markets.

Did you know that hummus and pasta is a heavenly combination that your taste buds will love?

Learn how to make a delicious Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus Pasta Salad by watching Matt Parris, the founder and CEO of Roots Hummus, demonstrate how to cook this tasty dish.

Trying out a recipe? Tag us on social media!
Share your results with us! If you love to share healthy recipes, make a recipe your own, or simply share your photos, we'd love to see how it turns out. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Happy (and healthy) cooking!

Empty Bowls is Back!

Celebrating the 21st Annual Empty Bowls

MANNA is excited to announce that the 21st Annual Empty Bowls event will take place on Monday, October 10, 2022, and tickets are ON SALE NOW!

We are thrilled to gather again with our Empty Bowls guests, supporters, potters, chefs, and larger WNC community.

You can read all about the format for this year’s event and learn which culinary partners will be there by clicking here. This is always a sell-out event for MANNA, so don’t delay in purchasing your tickets!

Buy Tickets

Ingles Day at the Mountain State Fair

A Family Fun Food Drive

Get your Laura Lynn cans ready for one of our favorite food drives of the year.

Thanks to our incredible hometown grocery partner of over thirty years, Ingles Markets, you can help raise thousands of pounds of food for our neighbors facing hunger, and get free entry to the Mountain State Fair on Wednesday, September 14th at the WNC Agricultural Center & Fairgrounds

To receive free admission to the Fair, all you need to do is bring 5 cans of Laura Lynn products to the fair gates on September 14th.

Hunger Action Month

Take Action This September

Every September, the network of 200 Feeding America food banks and our partners in food security work to raise awareness of food insecurity and hunger. 

Each Hunger Action Month, we have put together a calendar with actions that can be taken each day that aim to educate, while working towards a hunger-free WNC. View the calendar and take action against hunger and food insecurity with us!

Closing on Hunger

Food Makes a House a Home

The month of October is almost here - which means MANNA's Closing on Hunger campaign is right around the corner. WNC area realtors and LOTSAR are coming together to help our neighbors facing an empty plate.

Closing on Hunger is a month-long campaign where participating realtors make a $100 donation to MANNA for every house closing in honor of their client in lieu of a traditional closing gift. This gift provides 400 meals throughout our community. We are so grateful for the generous real estate community here in WNC.

If you're a realtor or work for a real estate firm and are interested in getting involved with the campaign, please contact Olivia Onderlinde

For more information about the campaign, visit the Closing on Hunger website.

Hops for Hunger

Support MANNA with a Pint

This September, several breweries are participating in our annual campaign that unites MANNA and our local brewers, Hops for Hunger.

For every pour of a particular brew, the brewery will donate $1 to MANNA. This month's participants include 12 Bones Brewing, Bold Rock, Boojum Brewing Company, Burning Blush Brewery, Green Man Brewery, Hi-Wire Brewing and Mills River Brewing Company (for more information and dates, view the poster).  

If you work for a brewery and are interested in joining Hops for Hunger, please contact our Corporate Engagement Manger, Olivia Onderlinde

We are so thankful for the support of our brewery partners and their dedication to a hunger-free WNC. 

Outpace Hunger

Feed People and Your Passion

There is still time to  "feed people and your passion" by participating in MANNA's action-based campaign, Outpace Hunger. By joining the campaign, you can turn your passion into meals, from running and biking, to hiking or walking, and even swimming. 

MANNA volunteer and Outpace Hunger participant, Nancy has challenged herself to swim 60 miles between July 1 and September 30. She says of the campaign, "I can feed my passion for swimming and raise money to feed families who are faced with the challenge of putting food on the table everyday." 

It is not too late to be like Nancy. Set a goal and make a real difference in the lives of WNC neighbors. Learn more and register here


We'd like to thank the following foundations for their support of Feeding Children Year-Round:

  • Chick-fila-A Foundation
  • Duke Energy Foundation
  • Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation
  • Pisgah Investments Foundation
  • Publix Super Markets Charities
  • David A. and Susan H. Schoenholz Foundation
  • Stiver Foundation
  • United Way of Henderson County
  • Walnut Cove Members Association
  • Woodforest Charitable Foundation

We'd like to thank the following Corporate Champions for working to create a food secure WNC:

  • Common Ground Distributors
  • Granny's Kitchen Restaurant and Catering
  • Zoe Dental

We'd like to thank the following Feeding America corporate partners for helping communities across WNC access food: 

  • Pampered Chef

We'd like to thank the following Events + Campaigns for working to create a food secure WNC: 

  • Elevation Church
  • Plus 1 and Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Together, MANNA FoodBank and Ingles Markets have been filling plates for more than three decades. Thank you for your dedicated partnership, Ingles Markets!
We want to thank all of you who have joined us in rising to meet the unprecedented need for food in WNC.

We are deeply grateful to have come this far together, and together, we can continue to serve all those who turn to MANNA in their moments of need.
Involve, Educate, and UNITE
MANNA FoodBank remains strongly committed to standing alongside all those united in seeking positive change, equity, and justice for all. 
Your Voice Matters:
Advocate for those experiencing poverty.

MANNA's mission is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger, and an important part of this mission is advocating for those living in and experiencing the effects of poverty.

As a non-partisan organization, dedicated to sharing information about the issues affecting the people we serve together, MANNA does not endorse political parties or candidates. We simply ask people to work with our elected officials to make legislation that works for us all, and makes our region, our state, and our country stronger from the ground up.

If you are interested in receiving advocacy-related emails from MANNA FoodBank, please click the button below. By clicking here, you are signing up to receive information from MANNA about ways you can use your voice, and actions you can take, to help work towards our vision of a hunger-free Western North Carolina.
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