Cars lined up to attend a distribution on November 9th in Robbinsville, NC.

FRESH NEWS November 2022

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank

Since last month's Fresh News email was sent to you, our need for food has grown even more.

Read through November Fresh News to learn of ways that you can help us rise to meet the need in WNC.

  • The Need for Food Continues to Grow
  • MANNA's Virtual Turkey Drive
  • The 30th Annual Ingles Giving Tree
  • Ways to Help us Meet the Need
  • Empty Bowls
  • Outpace Hunger

If you're looking for fun ways to get involved and help us get food to our neighbors throughout WNC, we have a list of ways that you can help us meet the need. 

For a detailed list of community events and round-up campaigns, continue reading.

The Need Has Grown

The Need for Food in WNC is Nearly Double Pre-Pandemic Numbers 

To put it in plain terms: MANNA is currently working very hard to overcome significant challenges right now to meet the historic need for food that exists in our region. 

While a lot of the world is returning to some sense of normalcy since the pandemic began, we are continuing to serve nearly the same number of people that we served during the peak of the pandemic. Through the first quarter of our current fiscal year, we have served an average of over 127,000 neighbors each month. This is 95% higher than our pre-pandemic levels due to the high cost of living in our region, and increased costs for food and other essentials.

In addition to an ever-increasing need for food amongst neighbors in WNC, food donations have decreased. In the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscal years, MANNA received over 20,000,000 lbs. of food donations to support the increased need. In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, however, we received roughly 15,000,000 lbs. This significant decrease in food donations is a concerning trend that we are continuing to see now in our current fiscal year. 

With food donations down and the need for food at one of the highest points in MANNA's history, we have had to purchase a lot more food than we had to in the past. Food costs have risen for food banks, just as they have in grocery stores, due to the supply chain issues. This means that we have not only been sourcing more food through food purchasing, but that we have been paying more for that food than we would have had to spend in years past.

Our Response

With your help and that of all of our incredible volunteers, partners and supporters, we are doing everything we can to ensure that our neighbors throughout our region have access to food. Our drivers are continuing to drive food throughout the mountains and our partners are continuing to distribute food to neighbors who are looking for food support.

The relief that this food brings for many residents and families throughout WNC is critical. At a recent distribution in Buncombe County, a first time client attended a market who had never before been in a position where she felt like she needed to ask for food. She had recently lost her job and needed support to provide for her and her four children. Thankfully, our partner was able to provide her with food and a sense of hope. 

This is not an isolated story. Many of our neighbors throughout our region are continuing to rely upon our wide-range of partners throughout WNC for food. A client attending the Aston Parks mobile market in Asheville stated, "if I am running low, I know that you will be here that week and I will make it." Partners at Saluda Pop-Up Pantry in Polk County mentioned that one of the senior neighbors attending their market mentioned to them that if it were not for their pantry, she was unsure if she would have any food to eat. 

It is essential that we are able to continue reaching these neighbors, so that they have access to food and hope. If you have the ability, there are various ways that you can help us meet the need that are outlined in this newsletter. Participation in our Turkey Drive, the Ingles Giving Tree, local round-up campaigns and community events help provide vital support that allows us to continue serving our neighbors throughout WNC. 

A Helping of Hope

for the Holidays

Participate in MANNA's Virtual Turkey Drive

We have a wonderful opportunity and we need your help to make the most of it.

Thanks to Jerry Sternberg and Marlene Joyce-Berger of the Sternberg Companies, a generous gift of $10,000 has been committed as a dollar-for-dollar match for every contribution made to the Turkey Drive, from now until December 16th.

"Marlene and I hope you will join with us to provide the necessary funding through a generous gift in a combined effort to help pay the costs of this true deliverance of this life saving effort for our fellow neighbors who are in dire need" - Jerry Sternberg 

By contributing to our virtual Turkey Drive, you can help provide holiday meals for our neighbors throughout WNC.

Donate now and help our neighbors have access to a holiday season full of food and hope.

Donate Now

Ingles Markets' Tradition of Giving Continues

The 30th Annual Ingles Giving Tree

MANNA FoodBank and Ingles Markets are thrilled to announce the lighting of the 30th Annual Ingles Giving Tree, a milestone year for this beloved holiday tradition.

This year's Ingles Giving Tree arrives at a time when more families across our region are deeply burdened and struggling with putting food on the table. The Giving Tree serves as an opportunity to raise enough food to reach more neighbors across our region who are experiencing food insecurity.

The event, which will be on Monday, November 21st from 5-6 PM at the Asheville Outlets Food Courts (800 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC 28806), will include the tree lighting by Mrs. Laura Ingle, holiday music, and a chance to win a $500 Ingles gift card for those who bring non-perishable food donations for MANNA FoodBank.

You can help by bringing your shelf stable food donations on Monday, November 21, between the hours of 5 PM and 8 PM, and Tuesday, November 22, between the hours of 10 AM and 8 PM. Donations should be dropped at the MANNA Table inside the Asheville Outlets Food Court. On Wednesday, November 23, a single winner will be drawn from all entries, and the winner will be contacted by MANNA. 

Help Us Meet the Need This Holiday Season

Round Up Campaigns & Community Events

We are so grateful to all of our partners who are helping us during this critical time by providing various ways for people to get involved and help provide meals for neighbors this holiday season. Read through the list below to find out ways you can get involved. 

  • Harris Teeter's Harvest Feast Round-Up Campaign (11/2 - 12/27): Harris Teeter shoppers will be invited to Round Up their transaction to the nearest whole dollar at checkout to benefit local hunger relief partners. MANNA will be the recipient of funds raised at the Harris Teeter stores on Merrimon Ave. in Asheville and Spartanburg Hwy. in Hendersonville. 

  • Food Lions Feeds (11/9 - 12/12): Food Lion stores will be hosting Food Lion Feeds, which is an in-store food drive program where customers have the opportunity to purchase and donate a Food Lion Feeds for the Holidays box of food that will be donated to MANNA FoodBank. 

  • Ingles Markets' Ingles Giving Tree (11/21 - 11/22): The Ingles Giving Tree is a longstanding holiday tradition in WNC. This year's event will include a tree lighting, holiday music and a chance to win a $500 Ingles gift card for those who bring non-perishable food donations to donate.

  • Jus Running's Turkey Trot (11/24): Jus Running will be hosting their annual Turkey Trot road-race. Runners can register for either the 5K Turkey Trot or the 1-Mile Gobble Wobble. A portion of the proceeds from each registration will benefit MANNA.

  • Whole Foods' Round-Up Campaign (11/30 - 12/20): Whole Foods shoppers are invited to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar. Whole Foods will also match a donation to MANNA when a customer buys a locally made product.

Let's Make This Easy...

Alternative Ways to Earn and Give

Did you know MANNA has a website with easy to use tools and planning guides to better equip you and your family with pertinent information for your current and future estate plans? 

From the privacy of your own home, use real time tools to better understand easy, alternative ways to give and earn income now, while making an impact later. Let these tools help you identify your short- and long-term interests and needs. 

Take a load off and let us share these new, alternative ways to give and earn. Try our new, user friendly website and tools by clicking here. 

If you would like to learn more about these unique ways to give, please contact Mary Nesbitt or Chad Conaty.


A Record-Breaking Year

Celebrating the 21st Annual Empty Bowls

MANNA’s 21st Annual Empty Bowls is a wrap!

It was a record-breaking year for Empty Bowls, raising $121,000 through ticket sales, Collector's Corner shoppers, sponsorships, and the incredible in-kind donations from our Culinary Partners, potters, artisans, and our host venue, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville-Biltmore. It was truly the celebration of community we had envisioned.

When you’re out shopping, dining out, or looking for businesses to support, MANNA encourages you to please support the amazing people and places that support us. For a complete listing of this year’s Empty Bowls contributors, check out the Empty Bowls website. We look forward to seeing you next fall at our 22nd Annual Empty Bowls.

Feeding People & Your Passion

Outpace Hunger Has Come to an End

All spring and summer long, MANNA’s Outpace Hunger participants have been running, walking, swimming, paddling, biking, hiking (and so much more) in an effort to “feed people and their passion” by turning their favorite activities into much-needed food for WNC neighbors.

The campaign ended on September 30, and through the collective generosity of Outpace Hunger fundraisers, their supporters, and our campaign sponsors, we were able to raise the equivalent of almost 17,000 meals for neighbors across WNC.

MANNA is deeply grateful for our community of participants, fundraisers, and our Outpace Hunger Sponsors, Lazy Otter Outfitters

Asheville Wellness Tours, and LiquidSpark Media & Marketing

If you’re already thinking about how you’d like to get involved with next year’s campaign, either as a participant or a sponsor, please let us hear from you.


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

  • Ameriprise Foundation
  • Austin Foundation
  • Bill Drew/The McMichael Family Foundation
  • Community Action Opportunities
  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation
  • Louis and Harold Price Foundation
  • Publix Super Markets Charities

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

  • Dollar General
  • K&M Collision
  • Mast General Store - Asheville
  • MP Huskey
  • Textron Charitable Trust Matching Gifts

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

  • The Cantina at Historical Biltmore Village
  • Mills River Brewing
  • Town and Mountain Realty
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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