FRESH NEWS July 2022

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank

Families across WNC continue to face an uphill climb as they grapple with the effects and financial implications of rising food and gas costs, supply chain issues and the residual results of the pandemic.

  • The Cost-of-Living Crisis in WNC

  • Wheels for Meals

  • Food Lion's "Feedy" Awards

  • Keep Kids Fed Act

  • Partner Spotlight: Feeding Avery Families

  • MANNA in the News

  • Did You Know...

  • Nutrition Works Recipe: Fruit Salsa

  • MANNA is Hiring

Looking for a way to make a real impact this summer? 

Feed people while pursuing your passion through Outpace Hunger, an action-based fundraising campaign that turns a favorite activity into meals. 

Learn more by reading the story of Robin, an Outpace Hunger participant, in the article below.

The Cost-of-Living Crisis

in WNC

The Reality our Region is Facing Right Now

Western North Carolina, along with the rest of the country, is currently facing a cost-of-living crisis that has many individuals and families asking themselves, “do I pay my bills or purchase food?”

Prior to the pandemic, WNC was in a unique position, which we often refer to as the socio-economic “perfect storm.” Since the Great Recession of 2008, our region has witnessed the highest housing costs in the state, which has forced people to move to rural areas; an economy consisting of primarily low-paying service employment opportunities; a lack of adequate public transportation in and around rural and remote communities, forcing many people to drive long distances to get to work; and skyrocketing child and healthcare costs. All of these factors placed, and continue to place, enormous strains on working families in our region to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, the conditions of the socio-economic “perfect storm” have only been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

Disruptions to supply chains, caused by the pandemic and world events, have caused the cost of living to increase to historic levels that are unsustainable. Families and individuals throughout WNC, as well as the country, have directly witnessed this trend when seeing the higher-than-usual total cost for food at grocery stores and fuel at gas stations. As the cost of these essentials continue to increase, many individuals have not seen their income adjusted to meet the demanding price of our region’s cost of living. As a result, many neighbors throughout WNC have experienced poverty and food insecurity.

To make matters worse, many social protections that members of our community have relied upon throughout the pandemic have either been reduced, cut or have faced continual pressure to be eliminated. 

As a food bank, MANNA has also felt the impacts of supply chain issues and rising costs. In fact, food banks throughout the country have had trouble meeting the need due to inflation. While demand remains higher than it did prior to the pandemic, food banks are having a difficult time providing food for their communities due to a drop in food donations, a longer-than-usual wait time for food orders and an increase in food prices.

Against all odds, however, MANNA has been working diligently to make sure that our neighbors who are experiencing the cost-of-living crisis have continued access to free food and important food access resources. Through programmatic work, our food distributions have continued to provide neighbors with food; our Helpline has continued to field calls and link callers to valuable food resources, such as SNAP and nearby free food opportunities; our Feeding Kids Year Round program has provided school-children with supplemental bags of food during the school year and summer months; and our MANNA Community Markets have been driving to remote and rural pockets of our service area to deliver nutritious food.  

While providing this wide array of support opportunities for neighbors in WNC, we have remained committed to our advocacy work. As an organization, we continually voice our support for initiatives that promote food security. Through our Advocacy Newsletter, we have also mobilized individuals to stand up for crucial social protections any time social programs have faced potential cuts or eradication. If you are interested in advocating for food security policies and a hunger-free WNC, please join us.

In order for us to overcome the cost-of-living crisis, we have to continue supporting each other and making sure that our neighbors have access to essentials, such as food. If you are looking food, or know someone looking for food, you can use our Food Finder to locate your nearest food pantry, call our Food Helpline at 1-800-820-1109 or look to see if our mobile markets will be in your area anytime soon.

Hunger is Real: The Voices of Western North Carolina

To hear directly from individuals in our region who have felt the socio-economic burdens of the cost-of-living-crisis, watch Hunger is Real: The Voices of Western North Carolina.

Wheels for Meals

Help Drive our Mission Forward!

Your fuel efficient, low-mileage vehicle could have another chapter helping support MANNA's daily work across 16 mountainous NC counties. 

MANNA FoodBank is a food sourcing and distribution organization, and our staff are on the road every day delivering food, connecting with partners, and working with communities across WNC to address the need for hunger – from economic centers to rural mountain towns. Our vehicle fleet ensures that our staff can be onsite and in person for a wide range of anti-hunger activities, and having safe, reliable vehicles is a must! 

MANNA is in immediate need for car donations, and is seeking up to three vehicles to help continue our daily work, and drive our mission forward.  

Your lovingly used vehicle could have a whole new chapter of life as a beloved member of the MANNA fleet. Donating your car to MANNA is more than just the monetary value of the donation – these vehicles literally drive our mission to end hunger forward every single day!  

If you’re interested in donating a vehicle, or to learn more about our need and how we utilize these valuable members of the MANNA team, visit here, or email Mary Nesbitt, Chief Development Officer.

Food Lion Celebrates

the "Feedys"

A Coming Together of Partners Working to End Food Insecurity and Hunger

Last month, Food Lion celebrated the 7th Annual "Feedys" Awards at their headquarters in Salisbury, NC by inviting their partners who assist in their efforts to promote food security. MANNA was honored to be invited to the ceremony and commune with a wide-range of organizations working to end hunger. 

Food Lion has been an incredible partner of MANNA's for over 18 years. During that time, Food Lion has been a generous donor, retail partner and advocate of our work in WNC. 

We are beyond grateful for being able to partner with an organization as incredible as Food Lion.

Keep Kids Fed Act

Children Will Continue to Have Access to Nutritious Food Throughout the Summer

The Keep Kids Fed Act has just been signed into law. The Act will provide much-needed food and nutrition for children throughout the summer months.

If you took action, we thank you for contacting your representatives and caring so deeply about this issue. If you are interested in becoming an advocate for food security, you can sign up for our Advocacy newsletter

To read Feeding America’s response to the legislation, click here.

Partner Spotlight

Feeding Avery Families

Feeding Avery Families (FAF) is a non-profit organization in Avery County, North Carolina that works to promote food security for their neighbors. In 2021, FAF distributed over 539,000 pounds of food through programs, such as Backpacks for Kids and Backpacks for Seniors, as well as their Friday distributions and monthly MANNA Community Market. 

Serving residents of Avery County, the staff and volunteers are aware of the unique challenges that accompany food distribution in rural communities. Tammy Woodie, a board member and regular volunteer for FAF, says that "transportation is a real issue in Avery. Many people in our area don't have access to a car. That is why we encourage folks to pick up food at our distributions for their neighbors and family friends."

Since the onset of the pandemic, FAF has utilized a drive-through model for their MANNA Community Markets. Throughout that time, FAF has seen an uptick in seniors looking to access food. Furthermore, many of the neighbors that access food at the monthly MANNA Community Markets also attend the weekly Friday food pantry distributions. According to Tammy and the rest of the FAF team, the need remains high in their region.

Tammy, however, is thankful that FAF is there and is able to serve the need that exists. At every distribution, the FAF team makes sure that all of their neighbors leave having experienced kindness and respect. Tammy greets each neighbor with a smile as their car pulls up to the line and volunteers load boxes of food into cars, while joking around and laughing with their neighbors. According to Tammy, the day of the MANNA Community Market is her favorite day of the month, simply because she gets to see her community - all of her neighbors and friends.

Thanks to Feeding Avery Families, countless families in their region have been given food and hope.

MANNA in the News

In case you missed it, here are some recent local news stories about MANNA, upcoming events, and the current state of hunger.

MANNA FoodBank Kicks Off 2nd 'Outpace Hunger' Campaign as it Serves 100K People Per Month: A story from WLOS about our action-based fundraiser, Outpace Hunger, and Highland Brewing's Community Harvest, a MANNA themed beer.

MANNA Hosts Latest Outpace Hunger Campaign: An article from Mountain Xpress providing specifics on how people can feed people and their passion by participating in Outpace Hunger.

An Increased Need for Food: A story from WLOS featuring an interview with our CEO Claire Neal highlighting the increased need for food and the effect of inflation upon our community.

Food Banks in the Mountains Help Feed Thousands of Families Amid Soaring Grocery Prices: A story from WLOS that showcases MANNA's Food Finder, while also discussing the effect high grocery prices and gas prices have had on residents of WNC.

Food Savings Without Shame in WNC: An article from Mountain Xpress highlighting various food-relief organizations in WNC and their efforts to provide food and dignity. 

Did You Know...

Ways to Give to MANNA

You can use your retirement income to reduce your tax burden, make a charitable contribution and receive a tax receipt. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) must be taken by age 72 if you were born after June 30,1949, or the pre-SECURE Act age 70.5 if you were born before July 1, 1949. By using your retirement account for a qualified charitable distribution, you can deduct the contribution and the gift does not have to be itemized.

You can also make a tax-exempt donation by transferring stocks directly to MANNA's brokerage account.

If you would like to learn more about these unique ways to give, please contact Director of Philanthropic Engagement, Chad Conaty.

Nutrition Works:

Fruit Salsa

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.

Nutrition Work's Fruit Salsa is a refreshing mixture of fruit that is a perfect treat for a warm summer day.

Combining bananas, strawberries, kiwi and apple, the Fruit Salsa is a nutritious and quick-to-make snack. 

To complement the Fruit Salsa, pair it with some Cinnamon Chips.

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!

MANNA is Hiring!

Join Our Team

MANNA is looking for passionate individuals who are eager to join our team and help create a food secure WNC. 

Right now, we are looking for an Order Picker and a Mobile Programs Coordinator.

If you know of anyone who may be interested, please encourage them to regularly check our website for opportunities


Outpace Hunger

Robin's Weekly Marathon

Robin is Outpacing Hunger this summer by completing a marathon each week. For 12 weeks, Robin is walking a total of 26.2 miles with her dog by her side. 

In just a month's time, Robin has already raised the equivalent of 2,500 meals for neighbors across WNC. 

Find out more about Outpace Hunger and how you can feed people and your passion. 


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

  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Beattie Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Henderson County
  • Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
  • Dogwood Health Trust
  • Duke Energy Foundation
  • Gateway Wellness Foundation
  • S.L. Gimbel Foundation
  • Landwirth Family Fund
  • The Leon Levine Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Pisgah Health Foundation
  • Pisgah Investments Foundation
  • Sisters of Mercy Foundation of North Carolina
  • State Employees Credit Union
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • David and Nicole Tepper Charitable Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation

We'd like to thank the following partners for hosting food drives and donating meals to MANNA:

  • GE Aviation
  • Mountain Credit Union
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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