People and their families across Western North Carolina are facing dire economic hardships – and this is on top of what was already a “perfect storm” of economic issues contributing to 1 in 6 people facing an empty plate, even before the pandemic. Now, with millions across the country unemployed, food insecurity is at an all-time high. North Carolina has been particularly hard hit, and in the Asheville-metro area in the heart of our 16-county service area that impact has been particularly hard.
At MANNA, this has thrown our busy daily work into the highest gear.
With the emergence of COVID-19 on a state, national, and global level, MANNA FoodBank staff is working with county and state government agencies, Feeding the Carolinas food bank members, the Feeding America food bank network, and many other private and public organizations to address the impact on Western North Carolina and the thousands of residents and families we serve. We are following all public safety recommendations from the CDC and North Carolina Department of Human Services at our warehouse facilities in Asheville, NC in order to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, partner agencies, the people we serve, and the general public.
We will continue to keep our website updated with important and relevant information as we work to address the most acute issues coming out of this situation.
If you are a MANNA Partner Agency, please refer here for more information on our operations, recommendations for food distribution, and other support resources.
Everyone entering MANNA must wear a face mask.
MANNA FoodBank continues to keep on-site health and safety requirements in line with current CDC recommendations. We appreciate your support of these safety precautions, so we can continue to serve the WNC community with much-needed food.
North Carolina Stay Home Order Phase 2 is extended through September 11, 2020.
MANNA FoodBank will continue operating as we have been, including all safety protocols, sanitizing practices and schedules, requiring face masks, social distancing and PPE requirements, etc.
WHERE TO GET HELP
Partner Agency Network
We continue to coordinate with our Partner Agency Network of food providers. These nonprofit partners hold free food distributions, meals, and other food-related support, and are located across 16 WNC counties. Please refer to this list, which we keep updated with current information on regular food distributions. (Updated 8.12.20 at 4:00 PM)
MANNA Food Helpline
If you are looking for food resources, or if someone you know doesn’t have access to the internet, please call MANNA’s Food Helpline: 1-800-820-1109
The Food Helpline team will help connect you to: partner pantries in your area, school food support, and other community resources for families experiencing an emergency food crisis.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We are working hard with our hundreds of partners to get food to people across WNC quickly and safely, and you can help. We have three main needs that support food security work in 16 western NC counties: financial donations, volunteers, and food donations.
If you are interested in helping respond to immediate needs, sign up for our Immediate Needs text alert by texting the keyword READY to 828-348-5883.
We are asking that if people want to help, to do the following:
The most impact you can have is to make a financial gift to MANNA. As many of our regular sources for food donations have been impacted with the pandemic, we are in need of funding to keep acquiring the food that is desperately needed in our community. MANNA is able to stretch a dollar much further than one can at the individual consumer level, because we can source food in bulk quantities (tens of thousands of pounds), we can work with second market food vendors to purchase product at reduced rates, and we can partner with our other food banks to work together on food sources and variety at a national level.
Please make a financial donation to MANNA’s general food distribution work. We are already purchasing additional food resources to provide through our partner agency network, including product for family food boxes.
If you are part of the low risk population, we need your help as a volunteer now more than ever. Volunteers are the driving force behind the daily work at MANNA, and with 50% of our regular volunteers in a high-risk category for the virus, we have a serious need for more hands of support.
You MUST sign up for a shift. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who wants to help with volunteer support. As we are currently following strict health and safety protocols at our warehouses, as well as needing to plan for our daily operations, we need volunteer headcounts in advance. Due to the current circumstances, we will have to turn people away if you are not officially registered for a volunteer shift. So, please sign up! We promise we will put your willing hands to good use.
Current volunteers: If you are responsibly isolating, and are a regular volunteer with MANNA, please log in to CERVIS and remove your registration for your regular shifts. We are working to address what our daily needs are, and that will help us tremendously!
Groups: If you are a representative of a group interested in volunteering at MANNA, please send an email to volunteering(at)mannafoodbank.org.
We are asking any volunteers who come to MANNA to please:
1. Sign up for a shift on our website.
2. Come at your appointed shift time (5 minutes early, no earlier, no later).
3. Wash your hands on entering the building. You will be asked to wear gloves, which we will provide.
We are employing several new protocols to ensure the safety, health, and well being of all of our volunteers and staff, and are so very appreciative of everyone’s efforts to help out.
DONATE FOOD AND SUPPLIES
Please make healthy shelf stable food donations. We recommend easy to make meals and healthy snacks, like dried nuts and fruit, etc.
We are also in need of sanitizing and cleaning supplies, specifically hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
All food and supply donations can be dropped off in MANNA’s Main Entrance/Volunteer Center parking lot, next to the ramp. There are currently two large donation bins: one is marked for food, the other for cleaning supplies.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and action alerts, here.