Volunteers selflessly work at a community market at the Skyland United Methodist Church.

FRESH NEWS April 2024

Monthly News from MANNA FoodBank



This month, we point the spotlight on the heartbeat of MANNA: our wonderful volunteers!


Bringing dignity to all our Neighbors, one choice at a time.


Tickets are going fast for this one-of-a-kind raffle!

And don't miss:

  • Did You Know...
  • Recognitions + Gratitude

Table for Three Tickets

Going, Going, (almost) Gone!

Don’t miss out! If you’re looking for a way to make a meaningful impact one meal at a time, now is the time to purchase your Table for Three raffle ticket.

You’ll be entered to win a grand prize of 52 gift certificates for a “meal for two” (a value of $3500+) from our list of incredible local Restaurant Partners AND you’ll provide one meal a day for more than a year for a food-insecure neighbor – that’s why we call it Table for Three.

We only sell 500 tickets and we’re well over halfway there. To check out the list of Partners and purchase tickets, visit https://www.mannafoodbank.org/table-for-three/ today!

Celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Month

Giving Time, Energy, and Love

April marks the celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Month. To properly express our gratitude for the invaluable work our volunteers provide day in and day out, we turn to Nicholas Ames, MANNA's Volunteer Center Manager. ---

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. And oh how we appreciate you, in every sense of the word!



1. Recognize the full worth of; be grateful for

2. Rise in value

1. The full worth of our volunteer program is truly unmeasurable…. But we will try! 

Last year volunteers donated over 55,000 hours assisting in our mission towards a hunger-free WNC. For us, this means the equivalent of having 25 additional full-time employees to help in every aspect of our organization – and allowing us to stretch every dollar donated even further towards ensuring our neighbors are fed. 


You, our volunteers, are instrumental to EVERY facet of our organization. Volunteers in the warehouse are processing received donations to the tune of over 100,000 lbs of food each week (and over 5 million annually!); those on the Helpline received over 12,000 calls and completed 1,853 SNAP applications for neighbors in need, while volunteer drivers for our Community Market program delivered over 1,027,000 lbs of food across 672 routes!

This past year we began our Healthy Opportunity Pilot (HOP) Program in which volunteers assist in ordering healthy foods for neighbors given prescription diets, and we had our first “MANNA Swarm” at the Saluda Pop-up pantry to assist them in painting and moving into their new expanded space.

We have volunteers delivering our MANNA packs for kids, shredding confidential paperwork, stuffing envelopes, labeling bags, scanning trash in reclaim, acting as handy-folk to fix our facility, putting on food drives, fundraisers, and tabling for MANNA at dozens of events across WNC …. wherever you turn at MANNA, there is a volunteer making it happen

2. Our Rise in Value

It is this collective effort that brings this second definition to bare – 2. our rise in value because of the community of goodness that arises from this collective effort.

In truth, we could not feed the number of people we do, nor reach the area we reach, without the effort, dedication, and compassion of our volunteers. The 55,000 hours you donated last year was not done by 25 individuals. Rather, it was created collectively by this incredible community of over 3,000 individuals taking whatever time you have available – be it multiple time a week or coming once every few months – that, added together, makes this incredible tapestry of effort and compassion ensuring everyone in our community is fed.

Every moment you give has added to our collective value, and that value – being able to continually meet the growing need month after month – is vastly greater than the sum of our parts. Our volunteer community at MANNA is, for us, the greatest demonstration that while we, as individuals, may take a small role in providing someone food for today or food for tomorrow, together we can mobilize toward the much bigger goal of ensuring our neighbors and community have food for a lifetime.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to our incredible volunteers for all that you do for us, and our community. 

-Nicholas Ames, Volunteer Center Manager

Neighbor Choice Shopping  Moving Towards Choice Pantries in the MANNA Network

In our commitment to address the intersection between food insecurity and the health disparities that disproportionately affect those in poverty, MANNA has long been committed to providing not only food, but healthy balanced plates of food for our neighbors. 

To enhance our neighbors’ experience, we are working alongside our wonderful partners to offer a choice shopping experience rather than distributing pre-packed boxes of food. Imagine walking into a pantry, just as we do when we go to the supermarket, and being greeted with the freedom to choose the food that your family likes and needs rather than receiving a pre-selected box. This level of personal choice is not only empowering- it brings a sense of dignity and normalcy to those we serve. Additionally, as we diligently strive to stretch every precious resource, this change will significantly reduce food waste

Beyond encouraging all of our partner pantries, large and small, to work closely with us to move to a choice shopping model, we also are encouraging them to find innovative ways to provide access to food at least two times per month in their communities. With so many of our neighbors in need working one or two jobs, juggling all of the responsibilities of being a single parent or needing to be a caregiver for a family member, our goal is to give all the best possible options for food access in our communities. 

You can learn more about the benefits of a Choice Pantry Model through this video here: (And while you're there, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel)

We look forward to sharing our continued progress on this transformative journey with you in the coming months and years. 


Pack To Give Back

Are you a business or work for a company? Is your team community-minded and interested in a fun, engaging way to give back to our WNC neighbors?

Come join us for our first Pack to Give Back Event on June 6th. We still have Pack Teams and Sponsorship available – please go here for more information: MANNA FoodBank Pack To Give Back.


Thank You To Those Contributing To Our Mission in March:

We'd like to thank the following Foundations for their support of our food distribution efforts:

  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Diane Swift Modaff Foundation, Inc.
  • Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation
  • Fekete Foundation

We'd like to thank the following Events and Campaigns for going above and beyond in their efforts:

  • Jersey Mike's - Thanks to local franchises and their Month of Giving, Jersey Mike's will be providing the equivalent of 200,00 meals for our neighbors! WOW!

We'd like to thank the following Food Donors for going above and beyond in their efforts:

  • Arcadia Beverage
  • Langer's Juice Company
  • Bright Farms

We'd like to thank Ingles Markets for their support through the Ingles Reclaim Center:

Thank you, Ingles Markets, for partnering with us in our efforts to end hunger in WNC!

We are so incredibly thankful to the participants of this year's Student Food Drive:

A big thank you to the students, staff, friends, and family who made the 15th Annual Student Food Drive such a success!

Thanks to your hard work and dedication to being involved, educated, and united in the work of ending hunger in WNC, you collected 15,341 pounds of food and $7,576! Your efforts will allow MANNA and our partner agencies to provide 45,645 meals to our neighbors in WNC facing hunger. Thank you for engaging in a little healthy competition and congratulations to our Full Plate Award winners!

Best High School: A.C. Reynolds High

Best Middle/Intermediate School: C.T. Koontz Intermediate School

Best Elementary School: Hominy Valley Elementary School

Most Improved from 2023: Claxton Elementary School

Rookie of the Year: Odyssey Community School

Best CAN-Struction: Haywood Early College

Most Engaged: Evergreen Community Charter School

Did You Know...

Planned Giving Programs

Designated Roth accounts in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan are subject to the RMD rules for tax year 2023. However, for 2024 and later years, RMDs are no longer required from designated Roth accounts after April 1, 2024. However, the existing rules still apply to traditional, SEP, Simple and other defined contribution plans. 

Your required minimum distribution is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your account each year which must begin at age 73. Although an IRA owner can take a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) at 70½ years. (Source: https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-required-minimum-distributions-rmds


Did You Know… MANNA has a estate, planned giving program? To learn more please visit: https://plannedgiving.mannafoodbank.org/ 


As volunteers, you know MANNA FoodBank never strays from its mission to relieve hunger in Western North Carolina. Its talented leaders listen, reflect, and adapt to meet the needs of its stakeholders. It forges personal and professional relationships and strategic partnerships to execute its mission with remarkable efficiency. In short, over two decades, Manna has earned my trust.  

~ Hal Lewis, Planned Gift Pledgee - Highlands, North Carolina 


If you would like to learn more about alternative ways to give, please contact Director of Philanthropic Engagement, Chad Conaty at 828-774-5910 or via email at or cconaty@mannafoodbank.org

We Are Hiring!

Come join a team dedicated to ending hunger in WNC! We are currently hiring for a Community Markets Site Coordinator, Delivery Driver/Warehouse Associate, and a Volunteer Center Manager.

 Please help spread the word to your network.



MANNA FoodBank and Ingles Markets have been filling plates together for more than 30 years. Ingles Markets, thank you for your steadfast partnership!

Feed Hope. Fight Hunger.

Thank you for supporting the work we do and for supporting neighbors in need. Together, we can end hunger in Western North Carolina.

Involve. Educate. Unite.

We stand firmly beside those united in seeking positive change, equity, and justice for all. 

Speak Up. Change Lives.

Our mission is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger in Western North Carolina and a critical part of this mission is advocating for those experiencing the effects of income insecurity and food insecurity.

That's where you come in.

We are a non-partisan nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing information about the issues affecting the people we serve, and we do not endorse political parties or candidates. We simply ask community members to work with our elected officials to make legislation that works for us all and makes our region, our state, and our country stronger from the ground up.

Click here if you'd like to receive advocacy-related emails from MANNA FoodBank, and receive information from us about ways you can use your voice and actions to help us end hunger in our region.


Give. Volunteer. Advocate.


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