Ending Hunger in WNC
MANNA FoodBank is a private, not-for-profit service organization, founded in 1982, that links the food industry with 248 partner agencies in 16 counties of WNC. We are a member of Feeding America, an umbrella organization that links together other food banks throughout the United States.
MANNA collects, stores, warehouses, and distributes food to MANNA accredited nonprofits throughout 16 counties in Western North Carolina. We have a network of partner agencies that distributes the food directly to families in their community according to their individual programs. MANNA provides direct service on a very limited basis to those struggling with hunger through our MANNA Packs for Kids Program and Food Stamp Outreach.
MANNA FoodBank works with local and national retailers, packing houses, farmers, and individual donors to acquire most of the food that is distributed. Other sources include the federal and state government, food drives, and food that we purchase in bulk. This food is distributed throughout our 16-county service area by what we call our partner agencies. These agencies include pantries, soup kitchens, emergency food suppliers and other nonprofits. As the need in our region has continued to grow, so has the amount of food that goes through our warehouse and to the tables of the people who need it most.
MANNA Packs for Kids. Working families are struggling to regain their foothold in this post-recession economy. The government assistance that many of our clients count on to put food on the table has been delayed, reduced, or stopped altogether. Despite their best efforts, many families can’t afford all the food their children need for healthy, normal development. 1 in 4 children in our service area don’t have access to three square meals a day.
The MANNA Packs for Kids program provides emergency food assistance to public school students throughout all 16 counties in our service area. MANNA works closely with school employees to identify at-risk student populations. In the 2013-14 school year, an average of 4,333 MANNA packs were slipped into backpacks each Friday.
FNS Outreach. For many individuals and families throughout Western North Carolina, every dollar counts. Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps) is an important resource helping to put food on the table. FNS is an assistance program that allows people with little or no income to buy nutritious food. It can help a family survive a crisis of employment, poor health, or other hardships that can trigger a downward spiral into poverty. In 2014, MANNA’s outreach efforts assisted 1,284 households with FNS applications.
The program also helps strengthen the local economy and boost jobs in the farm and retail sectors and beyond. It is estimated that each $5 of FNS benefits can generate up to $9 in economic activity.
MANNA Food HelpLine. The HelpLine is a virtual call center for assistance with Food Stamp applications and re-certifications over the phone. The HelpLine is staffed by staff and trained volunteers and designed to help people navigate the process of applying for Food and Nutrition Services benefits. This innovative new program is especially targeted at seniors and working families trying to make ends meet on a limited budget.
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