Fresh Food for Families: MANNA Dedicates the First Produce Pod in North Carolina

Over the last several years, MANNA has worked hard to establish fresh produce distribution methods that are proven to work. We have launched several initiatives, including MANNA Express, our volunteer driven distribution method, with wild success.

Now, thanks to an important investment from Morgan Stanley Foundation and a strong network partner in Haywood County, MANNA has launched another distribution method to get fresh produce to families fast.

The Haywood County Produce Pod is the first of its kind in the state of North Carolina, and is enabling MANNA to get more fresh food further west into Haywood and Jackson County. Haywood Christian Ministry, a MANNA partner pantry based in Waynesville, is first location for this pilot program to keep produce fresh long enough to get it onto families plates. The Produce Pod is a stand-alone, refrigerated storage container that can hold up to 12 pallets of produce. The pod is available to any MANNA partners in Haywood and Jackson Counties: MANNA delivers a truckload of recently donation produce to the pod, which is then available for our western partners to pick up, any time their clients need fresh food.

First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper joins Morgan Stanley representative David Wilhelm to dedicate the first produce pod devoted to fresh produce distribution in the state.

MANNA FoodBank and Haywood Christian Ministry hosted a very special guest for a very special ribbon cutting this past September. The First Lady of North Carolina, Kristin Cooper, joined us to dedicate a brand new fresh produce distribution method, and to help highlight the important work of feeding families in the western-most counties of North Carolina.

The pod is located west of Asheville to accommodate MANNA partner pantries and kitchens operating in the western-most counties of the state, so that they can pick up produce donations closer to home, minimizing the burden and expense of travel time while providing cold storage for fresh food.

MANNA FoodBank would like to thank and recognize the following partners for their vital support in making this produce distribution method a reality:

Morgan Stanley Foundation: for their grant to purchase and transport the refurbished refrigerated storage unit.
Haywood Christian Ministry: for going above and beyond to prepare their property to safely house this unit, including massive capital improvements like electrical, site grading, and laying a concrete pad. We would like to give a special mention to Steve and Anthony for their passion and dedication to making this pilot program a daily success.
Haywood Builders: for their “in the nick of time” help getting the pod safely off the delivery truck and carefully situated on-site at Haywood Christian Ministry.
Allegra Printing: for their sponsorship of the pod’s graphics and signage.