And What We Can Do To Continue Meeting It
Throughout our region, we are continuing to see individuals and families struggle to make ends meet. Due to disruptions in supply chains, the cost of living throughout WNC has reached historic and unsustainable levels.
When visiting grocery stores and stopping at the gas station for fuel, many of us have seen and felt the impact of the higher-than-usual total cost. As these necessary costs have risen, many neighbors’ incomes have remained stagnant, which has forced many individuals and families to experience poverty and food insecurity.
At MANNA, we are working laboriously to help our neighbors meet the elevated need. In our 2021-2022 fiscal year, we distributed 18.6 million pounds of food throughout WNC. Each month within that time period, our markets and pantries served an average of 109,730 individuals which is 68% higher than pre-pandemic levels. The food that was distributed throughout the previous fiscal year consisted of 70% healthy staples and 27% fresh produce.
Throughout the fiscal year, our Helpline was contacted 24,354 times by individuals seeking information on how to access food through nearby food pantries, SNAP and other avenues. In the previous fiscal year, our Helpline was contacted a little over 12,500 times. That’s a nearly 100% increase in neighbors contacting our Helpline to ask about available food resources.
While the need throughout our region continues to be higher than it was prior to the pandemic, there are ways that people can help us meet the need that exists. You can participate in this year’s Turkey Drive, join our advocacy email list, volunteer at MANNA, share our food resources with your network, make a one-time donation or consider becoming a monthly donor.
Regardless of how you choose to get involved, we are grateful for supporters like you who make sure that our neighbors throughout WNC have a plate full of food and hope.