In the spirit of unity and collective impact, we wish to acknowledge our incredible Partner Network. As we work together to alleviate hunger in our community, it’s vital to recognize that our mission is made possible by the unwavering support for our neighbors and collaboration within our network.
The Power of Partnership:
At MANNA, we firmly believe that addressing food insecurity requires a community-driven approach. Our Partner Network comprises local agencies, nonprofits, and businesses that share our commitment to ensuring no one goes hungry. Together, we form a powerful force against hunger, bringing hope and sustenance to those in need.
These partners are the backbone of our mission. Whether it’s a neighborhood food pantry, a dedicated volunteer group, or a local business contributing resources, each entity within our network plays a unique role in the collective effort to combat hunger. It’s a testament to the strength that arises when communities come together for a common cause.
2023: A Year of Increased Need
This past year, as we served more people in our community than ever before, this need was felt most directly at the partner level.
Kristen Ollila, the Agency Relations Manager for the Eastern Counties of our service area, has witnessed first hand how the partners have shown up. “Over the last year, I have been so impressed with the agencies’ resilience. It has been a tough year for food pantries, and watching the agencies develop creative ways to serve their neighbors has been so rewarding. We have had agencies apply for 501c3 status, start cooking demos, move to full neighbor choice shopping, and more! Our agencies have met the needs of their neighbors, and we are so thankful for the boots-on-the-ground work they do to ensure those they serve have a full plate.”
From Heart to Table:
The phrase “By the Community, For the Community” encapsulates the essence of our Partner Network. Through collaborative initiatives, food drives, and outreach programs, they not only provide meals but also foster a sense of community and support. It’s a beautiful cycle where local generosity directly impacts local lives.
Our agencies know what their communities need, and our job at MANNA is to listen to, advocate for, and support them in these efforts. These partners are seeing more demand than ever and are finding creative ways to meet the neighbors where they are through mobile distributions, home deliveries, coffee time before distributions, choice shopping, and more.
The Community Table and Uncomplicated Kitchen have recently partnered in Sylva and Jackson County to produce a series of videos on healthy affordable recipes and accessible cooking skills. Thanks to support from The Great Smokies Health Foundation, these videos will be available on iPads at the Community Table as well as available at home. This two-year project will also feature in-person hands-on cooking opportunities on-site at The Community Table to help neighbors learn creative and delicious ways to use the pantry staples and fresh produce they have access to each week.
How You Can Join the Movement:
We invite you to be a part of this powerful network. Whether through volunteering, contributing, or spreading awareness, your involvement strengthens the fabric of our community-driven mission.
Together, we can transform the simple act of giving into a force that uplifts our community. Thank you for being a vital part of the MANNA family.