Advocate for Neighbors Facing Hunger

MANNA FoodBank is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to highlighting the issues affecting the people we serve in Western North Carolina. 

Current Advocacy Update

March 2023: Medicaid Expansion Passes in North Carolina

Thank you for joining MANNA, our partners, and advocates across the state in calling your representatives to advocate for Medicaid Expansion in NC!

March 2023: The SNAP Cliff

MANNA FoodBank and our dedicated partner agency network continue to stretch every resource as far as possible to provide vital emergency food support for more people than ever in our organization’s history. Thanks to caring individuals and organizations, MANNA and our partners have worked hard to be there for our neighbors with the food they need. But things have been tough, and even as charitable organizations across the country continue to serve many more people with fewer food donations, we are bracing for the next wave of individuals who will soon find themselves at the edge of the food cliff as soon as March 2023, when desperately needed expansion to SNAP benefits ends.

In the last year, many of the pandemic-era relief initiatives have been allowed to lapse – including universal school meals for students, expanded federal and state food resources, and more – all while rising costs of living continue to burden people still recovering from the pandemic.

Now, the much-needed emergency increase in SNAP benefits have ended, placing even more of a financial burden on those who are already struggling to afford the basic groceries they and their households need just to survive. Households receiving SNAP to purchase groceries have been receiving these “emergency allotments” since March 2020, and since then food costs have risen over 16%—over 10% in 2022 alone—showing how the socioeconomic challenges we were already facing across Western North Carolina have only worsened.

With grocery bills continuing to be the highest in recent memory, it’s clear to see how hard this will hit families and individuals already walking a razor-thin edge to get by. Pressured by a huge increase in housing costs, energy costs, and more, households are facing the most severe socioeconomic storm since the Great Recession. Without these expanded allotments – which already fall far behind what people actually need to meet the modern challenges of growing costs of living and a stagnant minimum wage – many households, particularly households with children and seniors, will struggle to have the food they need every day. 

SNAP Facts

  • SNAP benefits are a public health issue. The need for supplemental grocery support skyrocketed during the pandemic, and due to ongoing economic circumstances, continue to see high participation.
  • Most households receiving SNAP are households with children and seniors. Additionally, many households are “working households”, with one or two individuals working full-time jobs.
  • These expansions to SNAP were needed long before the pandemic. Monthly benefit allotments are still calculated on a very dated socioeconomic analysis of the American household, and have not kept up with modern economics that continue to show slow wage growth while basic necessities increase in cost very quickly.
  • Many households experiencing food insecurity have historically chosen not to participate because the very low supplemental grocery support is not seen as worth the arduous application process.
  • SNAP dollars are an economic generator. Every $1.00 spent using SNAP dollars generates $1.79 in local economic activity.

How You Can Help

  1. Please share information about the end of emergency allotments. We want everyone impacted by this change to be prepared.
  2. Please share information about food resources. Our Food Finder map can help families find additional food.
  3. We urge you to personally call or contact your representatives. State and federal representatives need to know the impact these circumstances are having on ourselves and our neighbors.
  4. Share MANNA’s Food Helpline information. If you or someone you know needs help with groceries, please refer them to our Food Helpline: 800-820-1109. Or, you can schedule an appointment with a member of MANNA’s Helpline team on our website:

Thank you for being an advocate for our neighbors here in WNC and across the state!

Join Our Community of Advocates

At MANNA, we are committed to serving marginalized communities in ways that value who they are, their lived experiences, and their unique barriers to accessing food. We are developing solutions to hunger that are community-driven, equitable, accessible that honor a diversity of needs and value everyone. Our food programs and public policy efforts aim to build a society where everyone can live, learn, work and thrive—because having enough food is a fundamental human right. 

This commitment to advocating for the people we serve includes connecting directly with elected representatives, highlighting the issues that directly affect the people we serve and partnering with advocacy-focused organizations to build a movement of engagement and support at every level – in addition to our daily work to source and distribute food to thousands of our friends and neighbors. We invite you to join us. 

Food for Today. Learn about food insecurity in your neighborhood by supporting local food pantries and community markets. MANNA works with hundreds of partners who distribute food to communities throughout Western North Carolina. Find a partner close to your neighborhood on our Food Finder map, connect with them on what the need for food in your neighborhood looks like, and how you can support this work right in your own community. To see our partners’ food distributions in action, check out our WNC Food Distributions playlist on our YouTube channel.

Food for Tomorrow and for a Lifetime. MANNA is dedicated to engaging in longer-term solutions that will secure food for Western North Carolinians today, tomorrow, and for a lifetime. MANNA’s Food Helpline and outreach staff and volunteers work daily to help connect people to the programs that help put food on peoples’ plates today and tomorrow, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). In addition, we are working to build community-led solutions at mobile market distributions by partnering with businesses and nonprofits that provide information and services to address needs beyond food.

How You Can Help

Register to Vote

Participating in the democratic voting process can have a major impact on influencing the legislation and policy that affect peoples’ daily lives. As a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, MANNA is dedicated to working with our elected representatives – both locally, at the state level, and nationally – to find solutions that support the people we serve. Register to vote, and be part of a larger solution to end hunger nationwide. Check your voter registration status here.

Learn more about why voting is important to the collective work to address hunger by watching our video: Your Voice Matters: Register to Vote.

Sign Up for Our Monthly E-Newsletter and Advocacy Action Alerts

You can help us build a powerful movement to eliminate hunger in Western North Carolina! Through the dedicated efforts of people like you, we can ensure that our elected representatives get the message: We must address food insecurity’s root causes so that we can eliminate hunger now and for the long-term. When we are better informed—and our representatives are better informed about the issues facing our communities—we can build better solutions together. 

MANNA’s Fresh News, our monthly e-newsletter, keeps our community up-to-date on things happening at MANNA and the need for food across WNC. The e-newsletter keeps you informed about issues affecting our community while providing simple actions that you can take to help create a hunger-free Western North Carolina. When you sign up for the advocacy email list, you will become part of our alert system and will receive emails containing specific calls to action, such as contacting legislators during pivotal policy moments. 

Get Involved with MANNA


There are many ways to support the daily work to end hunger in WNC. One of the easiest ways is to make a donation. Learn more about the different ways you can help and how powerful small donations truly are in helping to fuel the work to feed thousands of WNC families.


MANNA’s daily work is not possible without the caring hands of thousands of volunteers – volunteers truly are the “heartbeet” of MANNA! Learn about volunteering at MANNA and how your time works to support the fabric of our WNC community.

Food Drives and Community Events

Another way to advocate for MANNA is to host a food drive, or get involved with a MANNA sponsored community event. You can even make a difference through your participation, volunteer efforts, or even by sharing the upcoming event on your social media networks.

Current State and National Representatives of MANNA’s 16-County Service Area

NC US Senators

Ted Budd (R)

Thom Tillis (R)

NC US Representatives

Chuck Edwards (R) – District 11

Virginia Foxx (R) – District 5

NC State Senators

Warren Daniel (R) – District 46 (Buncombe, Burke, McDowell)

Ralph Hise (R) – District 47 (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga, Yancey)

Timothy D. Moffitt (R) – District 48 (Henderson, Polk, Rutherford)

Julie Mayfield (D) – District 49 (Buncombe County)

Kevin Corbin (R) – District 50 (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Transylvania)

NC State Representatives

Dudley Greene (R) – District 85 (Avery, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey)

Jake Johnson (R) – District 113 (Henderson, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford)

Eric Ager (D) – District 114 (Buncombe)

Lindsey Prather (D) – District 115 (Buncombe)

Caleb Rudow (D) – District 116 (Buncombe)

Jennifer Balkcom (R) – District 117 (Henderson)

Mark Pless (R) – District 118 (Haywood, Madison)

Mike Clampitt (R) – District 119 (Jackson, Swain, Transylvania)

Karl E. Gillespie (R) – District 120 (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon)