Miles for Meals

Miles for Meals

Volunteer Turns Long Walks into Donations for MANNA

By Robin J. Phillips, MANNA volunteer

At some point during every volunteer shift at MANNA Foodbank, I try to spark conversation with one of two questions for my fellow volunteers:

“What’s the best concert you’ve ever gone to?” or …

“What is the strangest food you’ve ever sorted through for MANNA?”

Everyone has an opinion about music. But there are not many answers about ‘strange’ food. People describe sorting through cold food (frozen meats), heavy food (watermelon), or a LOT of food like breaking down a one-ton pallet of rice into small bags for family meals.

For decades, MANNA Foodbank has worked to outpace hunger and reduce food insecurity in Western North Carolina. For the past two years, I have enjoyed giving them a hand. I’ve enjoyed working with teams of volunteers who sort through donations, making sure that MANNA delivers only the best … food that will be nutritious AND tasty.

Since the summer of 2021, I have spent more than 200 volunteer hours checking sell-by dates; throwing out zucchini, bananas or tomatoes that have turned too soft; or building boxes of goodies that a family or a senior can turn into a nutritious meal.

During the past two years, I have also walked the hills of Western North Carolina and convinced my friends and family to sponsor my Summer Full of Marathons – walking at least 26.2 miles each week this summer.

I’m just beginning the final month of Manna’s Outpace Hunger fundraiser challenge, week 14 out of 17. I’ve loved the long walks and enjoyed spreading the word about the good work that MANNA does.

At MANNA, $1 donation = 4 meals. Together my supporters and I have helped provide people with 6,655 meals … so far.

Donations are still open. Check out my fundraising page:
or get started on your own goal at