FRESH NEWS March 2023

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank

March is National Nutrition Month®, a perfect time to highlight MANNA's 40-year commitment to providing nutritious food for neighbors in Western North Carolina. Explore this month's Fresh News to learn more about:

  • National Nutrition Month®: Fuel for the Future
  • MANNA Celebrates 40 Years
  • Healthy Opportunities Pilot
  • Table for Three Raffle
  • Did You Know...
  • Recognitions

This year marks a MANNA milestone: 40 years of providing food for neighbors in WNC! Nutrition remains a cornerstone of our work.

National Nutrition Month

MANNA's Ongoing Focus on Health

Nutrition is medicine for tomorrow. Or, put another way, it's fuel for the future. This idea anchors the foundation of MANNA's mission, and it fuels the daily work we do across Western North Carolina. There's a clear connection between nutrition and health, and we're committed to providing the education and resources our partners need to find lasting solutions for hunger and create better health outcomes. This National Nutrition Month®, we're highlighting a few of MANNA's nutrition-focused programs and their positive impact on the lives of neighbors we serve.

New Initiatives

Supporting Wellness at Markets (SWAP) is one of MANNA's newest initiatives. Our Nutrition Works program has implemented this comprehensive "stoplight" system that allows MANNA, our partners, and neighbors to evaluate foods we provide and rank them in three categories based on saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar values:

  • Green identifies foods to choose often fresh fruits and vegetables, whole eggs, whole grains, skim/1%/2% milk.
  • Yellow identifies foods to choose occasionally plain dried fruit and 100% fruit juice, refined (white) breads, whole milk.
  • Red identifies foods to choose rarely – most processed and packaged snacks, desserts, sugary beverages.

Healthy Opportunities Pilot

MANNA has partnered with Impact Health to serve as a Human Service Provider for the Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP), the first program in the U.S. to use Medicaid funding to integrate non-medical services in the delivery of healthcare. HOP addresses social needs across four key areas—housing, food, transportation, and interpersonal safety—before they contribute to chronic, costly medical conditions. Between March 2022-February 2023, we distributed 3,500 lbs. of fresh produce to other HSOs and Medicaid enrollees in the pilot.

MANNA Packs/Summer Packs

Feeding children is a vital part of our food security work – and that's where MANNA Packs and Summer Packs come in. Weekly deliveries of supplemental food, known as MANNA Packs, make weekend food accessible for children receiving free school meals. In the summer, this program transitions into Summer Packs, which provide one week's worth of food during the months when children are unable to access school meals.

MISSION IN ACTION: You can make an impact in your community by contacting a food pantry near you to find out what items you can donate, or you can host a food drive to collect much-needed items. Sharing MANNA's Food Helpline number (1-800-820-1109) and information about our services is another quick but impactful way you can support our mission: involving, educating, and uniting people in the work of ending hunger in WNC.

MANNA Milestone

40 Years of Food Security Work in WNC

This year, we're proudly celebrating our 40th anniversary – four decades of setting the table together with a compassionate community that forms the safety net of hunger relief for Western North Carolina. Because MANNA is not just the warehouse from where we operate or the trucks on the road: MANNA is every single person who has hand in distributing food to the many people across WNC who need a hand of support. Our community serves as the front door, and the front lines, of emergency food distribution. 

Thanks to this extensive partner network, we're thrilled to announce that we have hit a major milestone in our 40th year:

MANNA has distributed 300 million pounds of food since food distribution first began in 1983.

This equates to a staggering 250 million meals provided to people in our region over the last four decades. Here are a few other ways we've grown:

  • In 1983, MANNA had 16 partner agencies. Today, we have 267.
  • We distributed 42,000 lbs. of food in 1983. Now MANNA distributes 42,000+ lbs. every day.
  • First headquartered in a 4,000-square-foot basement, we now operate from an overflowing 50,000-square-foot double warehouse with a fleet of 14 refrigerated trucks and one refrigerated van.
  • Fresh food distribution efforts have grown significantly since we began providing fresh food in the early 2000s. Today, more than 27% of the food MANNA distributes is fresh produce alone.

We'll be celebrating these incredible last four decades throughout 2023—including a big celebration planned for later this year—so stay in touch through MANNA’s monthly e-newsletter, Fresh News, and on our social media channels to find out about upcoming events.  

Share Your MANNA Memories!

Do you have pictures, stories, or other pieces of MANNA memorabilia to share? We're calling for stories, memories, photos, and video testimonials from our community of supporters, partners, volunteers, and neighbors. Upload anything you would like to share—or e-mail us—to help us honor the rich history of MANNA's first 40 years.


Medicaid Expansion

NC Lawmakers Approach Expansion Deal

North Carolina is moving toward a deal to expand Medicaid in our state. This deal will allow NC to provide health insurance to more than 600,000 people in the state. The expansion will increase access to healthcare—including mental health and substance use services—across NC, particularly in rural communities like those we serve across 16 counties, including the Qualla Boundary, in Western North Carolina.

Why Medicaid Expansion Matters

Medicaid expansion brings with it a host of benefits for North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has outlined a few of the most imperative benefits:

  • Medicaid expansion saves lives.
  • It increases access to mental health/substance use treatment.
  • The expansion also supports working families, including parents of children with special needs.
  • It builds a healthier workforce for the state.
  • It protects 14,000+ uninsured veterans and their families.
  • Medicaid expansion boosts rural healthcare, hospitals, and families.

MISSION IN ACTION: Advocating for neighbors in our region who are struggling with food insecurity and poverty is central to MANNA's mission ... and we need your voice to make an impact. Sign up for advocacy e-mails to stay up-to-date on opportunities to continue this ongoing dialogue with elected officials. With your support, we can affect lasting change for neighbors in Western North Carolina.


Table for Three

Annual Raffle Returns March 15

Table for Three, MANNA's popular hunger-ending initiative, returns for its fifth year on March 15! This unique raffle features a grand prize of 52 restaurant gift certificates for a meal for two from the Asheville-area’s finest local restaurants – a value of nearly $3,000!

The $104 ticket price is intentional. Every raffle ticket sold will provide one meal per day for more than a year for a food-insecure neighbor – hence the winning ticket equals a Table for Three. Tickets go on sale March 15 at 10 a.m. Only 500 tickets will be sold. Table for Three tickets sell out every year, so mark your calendars now to be one of the first lucky few to purchase tickets! We're grateful for our incredible Restaurant Partners – their partnership continues to make this popular fund-raising event possible.


Did You Know?

CGAs Are Quick, Simple Way to Donate

Income can be earned while still leaving a legacy via Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA), and CGAs can start at any age. With a Charitable Gift Annuity, you agree to make a gift to MANNA and we—and someone else, if you choose—receive a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life. CGAs provide a charitable tax deduction at the time of establishing the annuity. 

Visit our website to learn more about Charitable Gift Annuities.

Transferring stocks directly to MANNA’s brokerage account is a quick and easy way to make a tax-exempt donation.   

E-mail Chad Conaty, Director of Philanthropic Engagement, or call 828-299-3663, ext. 1243, for more information about creating a CGA.


Donations from Asheville Outlets, Publix, Wilsonart

We can't overestimate the importance of community efforts to collect food for neighbors in WNC. This month, we'd like to highlight:

  • Asheville Outlets for collecting and donating 325 lbs. of food through their food drive.

  • Publix, one of MANNA's Mission Movers, for donating 860 cases of canned goods purchased with funds raised through their Cash Register Round-Up Campaign.

  • Another Mission Mover, Wilsonart, for donating 481 lbs. of food collected during their food drive.

We'd like to thank the following Foundations for their support of our food distribution efforts:

  • Beattie Foundation
  • Landwirth Family Endowed Fund
  • Pisgah Investments Foundation
  • David and Nicole Tepper Foundation

We'd like to thank Ingles Markets for their support through the Ingles Reclaim Center:

February 2023: 217,534 pounds of food donated.

Thank you, Ingles Markets, for partnering with us in our efforts to end hunger in our region.

We'd like to thank the following Corporate Champions for stepping forward to help our neighbors access food:

  • HCA Foundation Matching Gifts
  • NC Retail Merchants Association

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

  • Asheville Outlets
  • Publix
  • Wilsonart


For more than 30 years, MANNA FoodBank and Ingles Markets have been filling plates, TOGETHER.

Thank you for your steadfast partnership, Ingles Markets!

Hope Is Possible.

Thank you for supporting the work we do and for supporting neighbors in need. Together, we can end hunger in our region.

Involve. Educate. Unite.

We stand firmly beside those united in seeking positive change, equity, and justice for all. 

Speak Up. Change Lives.

Our mission is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger in Western North Carolina and a critical part of this mission is advocating for those experiencing the effects of income insecurity and food insecurity.

That's where you come in.

We are a non-partisan organization dedicated to sharing information about the issues affecting the people we serve, and we do not endorse political parties or candidates. We simply ask community members 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.

Click here if you'd like to receive advocacy-related emails from MANNA FoodBank. Soon you will begin receiving information from us about ways you can use your voice and actions to help us end hunger in our region.

Give. Volunteer. Advocate.

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