MANNA FoodBank Celebrates National Nutrition Month

A warehouse full of students packing meals for donation.

Nutrition is medicine for tomorrow. Or, put another way, it’s fuel for the future. This idea anchors the foundation of MANNA’s mission, and it fuels the daily work they do across Western North Carolina.

There’s a clear connection between nutrition and health, and MANNA is committed to providing the education and resources its partners need to find lasting solutions for hunger and create better health outcomes. This National Nutrition Month, we’re highlighting a few of MANNA’s nutrition-focused programs and their positive impact on the lives of neighbors we serve.

New Initiatives


Supporting Wellness at Markets (SWAP) is one of MANNA’s newest initiatives. MANNA’s Nutrition Works program has implemented this comprehensive “stoplight” system that allows MANNA, its partners, and neighbors to evaluate foods we provide and rank them in three categories based on saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar values:

Green identifies foods to choose often – fresh fruits and vegetables, whole eggs, whole grains, skim/1%/2% milk.
Yellow identifies foods to choose occasionally – plain dried fruit and 100% fruit juice, refined (white) breads, whole milk.
Red identifies foods to choose rarely – most processed and packaged snacks, desserts, sugary beverages.

Healthy Opportunities Pilot

MANNA has partnered with Impact Health to serve as a Human Service Provider for the Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP), the first program in the U.S. to use Medicaid funding to integrate non-medical services in the delivery of healthcare. HOP addresses social needs across four key areas—housing, food, transportation, and interpersonal safety—before they contribute to chronic, costly medical conditions. Between March 2022-February 2023, MANNA distributed 3,500 lbs. of fresh produce to other HSOs and Medicaid enrollees in the pilot.

MANNA Packs/Summer Packs

Feeding children is a vital part of food security work – and that’s where MANNA Packs and Summer Packs come in. Weekly deliveries of supplemental food, known as MANNA Packs, make weekend food accessible for children receiving free school meals. In the summer, this program transitions into Summer Packs, which provide one week’s worth of food during the months when children are unable to access school meals.

You can make an impact in your community by contacting a food pantry near you to find out what items you can donate, or you can host a food drive to collect much-needed items. Sharing MANNA’s Food Helpline number (1-800-820-1109) and information about our services is another quick but impactful way you can support our mission: involving, educating, and uniting people in the work of ending hunger in WNC.

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