FRESH NEWS January 2023

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank

In 2022, MANNA faced a significant and daunting challenge: an unprecedented need for food in Western North Carolina. Explore this month's Fresh News to learn more about the ways the community has stepped up to meet this historic need.

  • 2022: Looking Back on a Historic Year
  • Key 100 Event in February
  • Turkey Drive Results
  • Mission in Action: Defining Food Insecurity
  • Did You Know...
  • Recognitions

Did you know that in 2021-2022, we distributed 15.5M meals? That's an average of 42,669 meals per day consisting of 70% healthy staples (like fresh produce). Yet the need for food in our region remains high in 2023.

Rising to the Challenge

Thank You for Helping Us Meet the Historic Need for Food in WNC

"Unprecedented" has become the unofficial watchword for the 2020s. As the ongoing pandemic continues to affect the daily lives of everyone in Western North Carolina, we have faced a daunting challenge: meeting a need for food that is nearly double pre-pandemic numbers. This increased need has its roots in a worsening socioeconomic "perfect storm" in WNC that includes skyrocketing housing costs, wages that can't keep pace, and rising transportation and food costs.

But there is hope ... and that hope is you. With support from dedicated, compassionate community members like you, we have been able to provide the food our neighbors need most. Your generosity has enabled us to respond—and respond quickly—to fulfill this elevated need and provide families with local produce, nutritious staples, and food that not only fills plates but also inspires hope.

Despite of the hardships of the past three years, there are many parts of 2022 that filled us with incredible gratitude. Here are just a few things you helped us accomplish over the past year:

We distributed 18.6 million pounds of food throughout our 16-county service area, including the Qualla Boundary. That adds up to an astounding 42,669 meals per day! Roughly 70% of those meals consisted of healthy staples, including fresh produce.

We worked closely with 267 community-based nonprofit partners that hosted free food distributions for an average of 109,730 individuals served each month at partner locations and markets.

Our volunteers provided the hands-on support equivalent of 27 additional full-time employees! This expansive range of volunteer roles includes: drivers; food sorters; Food Helpline volunteers; warehouse; food drives; MANNA FoodBank ambassadors; Board of Directors members; AmeriCorps members; special events; and administrative.

We distributed 122,285 MANNA Packs, which make weekend food accessible for thousands of school children receiving free school meals, and 16,300 Summer Packs, which provide supplemental bags of food each week when children are unable to access regular school meals during the summer months. These packs make a tremendous difference for the children and families struggling with food insecurity during and after the school year.

Our Food Helpline agents and volunteers served 24,354 households seeking food assistance. They assisted neighbors with 2,207 Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications or re-certifications.

These numbers only scratch the surface of the many lives you helped touch in the past year. We're incredibly grateful for your dedication to helping neighbors in our community! Thank you for partnering with us in the fight to end hunger in WNC.

Key 100 Event

Purchase Your Tickets Today for This

One-of-a-Kind Fundraiser

Your support is the key to fighting and ending food insecurity in Western North Carolina.

Can you imagine having to choose between paying your rent or feeding your family? It's a choice that Jessica*, a mother of three, has had to make far too often. At a recent Madison County distribution, Jessica secured the food she needed to make it through to her next paycheck.

Your Key 100 ticket purchase supports neighbors like Jessica – people facing the impossible, stressful choice of rent vs. food. Your gift can have a direct, immediate impact on the lives of people in Western North Carolina. Key 100 tickets are limited, and every ticket holder will be invited to a special reception (details below):

Feb. 1, 2023

5-6:30 p.m.

Cambria Hotel, Downtown Asheville

Ticket holders get to choose one key to try in two lock boxes – one that holds a spectacular diamond cocktail ring and one that holds a diamond tennis bracelet. In addition to your chance of winning one of these two fabulous prizes (plus a gift bag packed with goodies), we'll provide a beautiful certificate that would make a perfect Valentine's Day gift to that special someone in your life.

Your $500 ticket purchase provides much-needed food for neighbors across WNC. Visit our website to learn more.

*Name changed to protect neighbor's privacy.


Turkey Drive Results

Community Helps Provide 7,961 Turkeys

The results of our 2022 Virtual Turkey Drive are in, and through the collective generosity of online gifts, our matching gift, and turkeys dropped off at MANNA, we provided 7,961 turkeys for neighbors across WNC!

That's almost 8,000 families and individuals who had a turkey on their table because of you. Your generosity allowed neighbors in WNC to celebrate the holiday season with one less worry about putting food on the table. Your gifts did more than simply fill tables – they also provided hope to those who needed it most.

Thank you for helping us meet this need during the 2022 holiday season!

Mission in Action:

Defining Food Insecurity

Our mission is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger in Western North Carolina. And inn order to fully understand MANNA's mission, it's vital to understand the words that describe the work we do. Perhaps the most critical term is "food insecurity." The negative consequences of food insecurity affect every aspect of a person's life, particularly their health and wellbeing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a "lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in the household to live an active, healthy life."

People who struggle with food insecurity are disproportionally affected by diet-sensitive chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For children, food insecurity is particularly devastating because nutritional deficits can have serious implications for a child's physical and mental health. Food insecurity also forces people to make stressful choices, such as buying food or paying rent, utility bills, transportation costs, or medication and healthcare.

Stay tuned for more definitions in future e-newsletter issues. Education is fundamental to our mission, and it equips our community with the information needed to put our mission into action!

Did You Know?

Required Minimum Distribution Age Increases

The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) age has increased. The new law, Secure 2.0, went into effect on Jan. 1. This new law increases the age retirees must begin taking taxable withdrawals to 73 in 2023 and 75 by 2033, which represents an increase from the current age of 72. It does not, however, increase the age an IRA owner can take a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). That age remains at 70.5 years.

The new law allows for a distribution from an IRA to fund a life-income gift. This is a one-time election for a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA to be made to a split-interest entity. The distribution of up to $50,000 can be made to a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA), Charitable Remainder Unitrust, or Charitable Remainder Annuity trust. 

Email Chad Conaty, Director of Philanthropic Engagement, or call 828-299-3663, ext. 1243, for more information about giving options.



Thank You to Our Food Donors

With our food purchasing costs up and overall food donations down, we can't stress enough how vitally important these donations are to our work and the neighbors we serve across 16 counties, including the Qualla Boundary.

We'd like to thank our top food donorswho donated more than 10,000 lbs. of productbetween July and December 2022:

  • Apple Wedge Packers & Cider
  • Chiquita
  • Community food drives (includes walk-ins, business, and corporate drives)
  • Conagra Brands
  • Flavor 1st Growers and Packers, LLC
  • Foggy Bottom Orchards
  • FritoLay
  • General Mills
  • Harrah's Cherokee Hotel and Casino Resort
  • Ingles Markets (including Ingles Day at Mountain State Fair)
  • The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Kreher Family Farms
  • Legacy Farms
  • Lipman Family Farms
  • Milkco Inc.
  • Paul Collins Produce Co.
  • PetSmart Charities
  • P&G Southeast MC
  • Quality First Produce, Inc.
  • Refresco
  • Society of St. Andrew
  • Vita Coco

We'd like to thank the following foundations for their support of food distribution:

  • Community Action Opportunities
  • William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust
  • Midgard Foundation
  • Pisgah Investments Foundation
  • The Louis and Harold Price Foundation
  • Publix Super Markets Charities
  • Oak Foundation
  • Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation
  • Rakay Family Foundation
  • Walnut Cove Members Association

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

  • ACM Wealth Management
  • Bent Creek Advisors
  • Big Cloud Consultants
  • Bionic Man Painting
  • BorgWarner Emission, Thermal & Turbo Systems
  • Caliber Collision
  • Chevron Matching Employee Funds
  • Cline Anesthesia, Inc.
  • Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community
  • Duke Energy Foundation Matching Gifts
  • Eaton Corporation
  • First Bank
  • FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center
  • GE Aviation - CMC
  • Goldsmith Molis & Gray, PLLC
  • Looking Glass Wealth Advisors
  • HCA North Carolina Division Office
  • JAG & Associates Construction, Inc.
  • Jen Hubbell & Associates
  • Little Casears®–Asheville Investment Partners
  • Mangum Pottery
  • Mast General Store
  • Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial
  • New Belgium Brewing Company
  • Panashe Real Estate
  • Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company
  • Quality Oil, LLC
  • Robert W. Baird & Co.
  • Sensibilities Day Spa
  • Smart Products, USA
  • T-Concepts Solutions Inc.
  • TruPoint Bank
  • United Healthcare Community & State
  • Welcome to Mars
  • Wicked Weed Brewing

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

  • Asheville Quilt Guild
  • Jus' Running
  • The Riveter
  • The Silver Lining Charitable Foundation

We'd like to thank the following Feeding America Corporate Partners for their support:

  • The TJX Companies Inc.
  • Twin Subs, Inc.–Jersey Mike's


For more than 30 years, MANNA FoodBank and Ingles Markets have been filling plates. Thank you for your steadfast partnership, Ingles Markets!

Happy New Year!

Here's a well-deserved shoutout to everyone who has helped us meet the unprecedented need for food in WNC in 2022.

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 poverty.

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 Western North Carolina.

Give. Volunteer. Advocate.

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