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Community Spotlight: MANNA

Find out who they are, what they do and how to volunteer.
MANNA recently moved to a new facility where they can prepare and deliver 2.5 million nutritious meals to Philadelphians in need. | Provided
MANNA recently moved to a new facility where they can prepare and deliver 2.5 million nutritious meals to Philadelphians battling life-threatening illnesses. Provided

If doing more volunteer work is one of your resolutions for 2018, an organization to consider being apart of is MANNA. Founded in 1990 at the height of the AIDS crisis by seven members of the First Presbyterian Church, it began by delivering meals to Philadelphians battling AIDS.

“They believed that one needed to step outside of what was comfortable to effect change and they believed in the power of nourishment, letting the clients know they were not forgotten,” says Sue Daugherty, CEO at MANNA. “MANNA quickly grew out of that need and and today we provide ‘food as medicine’ to clients battling all life-threatening illnesses.”

Today, MANNA delivers meals to people with life-threatening illnesses like cancer, renal disease as well as HIV/AIDS, three times a day, seven days a week. In their new facility at 420 N. 20th St., MANNA will be able to deliver 2.5 million meals a year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the help of their volunteers.

“Volunteers are the heart of MANNA. Each year over 4,200 caring neighbors chop, cook, dice and deliver meals – enabling MANNA to provide all meals and counseling at no charge to the client,” Daugherty says.

So what makes this work so important? Daugherty believes MANNA is changing the healthcare landscape.

“The MANNA model combines Medical Nutrition Therapy with medically appropriate home-delivered meals to support better health outcomes and significantly reduce costs for the health care system by keeping patients in their homes rather than in hospitals or nursing homes,” she says. “But it comes down to more than costs—food is a basic need. When MANNA provides meals, we help free the patient to focus on the task of getting better while providing the best fuel to do so. More than a simple meal, we provide nourishment and a sense of community at a time of need.”

If you’d like to get involved with MANNA, all you have to do is fill out the online application and attend the volunteer orientation. There are shifts available Monday through Friday, beginning at 7 a.m., with three-hour shifts throughout the day.

“We also have several group shifts available each day.  These are perfect for corporate or civic team building,” Daugherty adds. “We hope to see you in the kitchen soon!”

For more information, visit: mannapa.org