Your Body Knows Best!


MANNA is all about nutrition and health.  And we take ourselves seriously.  This is why we want to keep you – our loyal readers – safe by sharing these everyday symptoms that people often neglect, but which could be a sign that something IS wrong.  You should always see a doctor for the following:

1. Unexplained weight loss:   Shedding pounds without trying could be a side effect of several medical conditions including; an overactive thyroid, diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer, or malabsorption disorders.  A loss of 10% of your body weight in a six month period of time is considered significant.

2. Persistent or high fever:  Having a fever can actually be a good thing, it can aid in fighting infections.  However, speak with your doctor if you have had a fever for greater than three days or a high fever of 103 F or higher.  This could be a sign of a hidden infection such as an UTI or something more serious like cancer.

3. Shortness of breath:   Being unable to catch your breath or gasping for air should result in immediate medical attention.  If you are having persistent problems with breathing or feel breathless when lying down it could be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, or heart and lung problems.

4. Unexplained changes in bowel habits: Every person’s bowel movements are different, if you notice a change in your bowel habits it could be a sign of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, irritable bowel syndrome, or colon cancer.

5. Confusion or personality changes: Infections, anemia, low blood sugar, and dehydration can all cause symptoms of confusion and changes in personality.  If you become suddenly confused about time or place or develop sudden problems with concentration or memory, seek immediate attention.

6. Feeling full after eating very little: If you develop early satiety or are eating less than normal, it could be a sign of GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, or in serious cases pancreatic cancer.  Contact your doctor if you suddenly develop early satiety, nausea, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, bloating or fever.

7. Flashes of light: Sudden flashes of light or bright spots could be a sign of a migraine headache or it could be something more serious such as retinal detachment.  Both warrant seeking immediate medical care from your physician.

Your body knows best!  Be sure that you stop and listen to the sometimes subtle messages it is sending to prevent what could become a major complication.

Delivering Health & Hope ALL Summer!

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Even in the 100 degree temperatures, Mike Breslin is on the road again! As a faithful volunteer driver, Mike logs miles every week delivering nourishing meals to MANNA clients who are too sick to shop and cook themselves.

“I see how difficult life is for some people. It makes you realize how important your health is,” Mike acknowledged. “And I like that MANNA is not income based – it is just about HEALTH.”

This summer, MANNA drivers will deliver over 200,000 meals. Volunteer drivers like Mike are an essential part of this workforce. Not only do they help provide crucial MANNA services, but they are often a lifeline of support to clients too sick to go out. They deliver hope, encouragement and love.

One of the MANNA clients Mike delivered to has summed it up this way: “When I got sick, I gave up part of my identity. I lost the ability to go out, to connect in the community. MANNA brings that back to me.”

When Mike retired, volunteering was one of the goals he set for himself. MANNA’s many clients are thankful he did! Not everyone has time to deliver meals – there are other ways to help MANNA deliver 200,000+ meals this summer. We got a ton a ideas – click here to find out how you can help!  #FoodisMedicine

Illness Never Goes on Vacation

Celestine Geraldine

Cancer does not take a week off. There is no rest from HIV/AIDS. Renal disease does not let up. MANNA clients battle their illnesses each day, every day, all summer long.

This summer, MANNA client Celestine will travel only as far as her dialysis center. It’s a short trip, but it’s arduous and difficult for her. Intense leg pain. Calcification of her blood vessels. Unbearably painful lesions. Chronic kidney disease has ravaged Celestine. Standing and walking are hard, hard work.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful MANNA has been to me and how faithfully they’ve delivered my meals every week. I feel so blessed to have found out about MANNA and to receive their help. I’m getting my strength back. I’m starting to gain weight. You can’t know how important that is. I had just stopped eating. I didn’t have the strength or the desire to eat. But now I have so many good things in my refrigerator” says Celestine.

MANNA meals are a constant reminder that we care – all of us – and that a helping of hope and targeted nutrition CAN change a sick neighbor’s battle into a successful one. Help us deliver over 200,000+ meals to  neighbors in need – donate today! 

Food as Medicine: Prestigious medical publication affirms nourishment has beneficial results for the critically ill

Sue Daugherty

Sue Daugherty is used to grateful thank you notes that trumpet the benefits of nutrition and nourishment.

As Executive Director of MANNA, (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance), she heads up a local charity that has been providing life-saving nourishment to the critically ill since 1990. MANNA prepares, cooks and delivers over 70,000 meals monthly and just recently celebrated the delivery of its 10 millionth meal. Meal plans have 11 different diet modifications created for such serious illnesses as cancer, renal and cardiac disease, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.

Though evidence suggested that neglecting the importance of adequate nutrition in chronically ill patients had far-reaching implications on their health (as well as health care costs), solid research was lacking. So MANNA conducted a study exploring health care expenditures in MANNA clients over time compared to a control group of patients without MANNA services. Health care costs were examined before and after clients began receiving services. The study found that the mean monthly health care costs decreased for three consecutive months after initiation of MANNA services. Other health care cost–related factors, such as inpatient costs, length of stay, and number of hospital admissions also displayed a downward trend.

When the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health reviewed the research and found it worthy enough for publication, Daugherty had the satisfaction of adding the weight of this prestigious publication to the organization’s long heralded benefits. Research printed in The Journal of Primary Care and Community Health will show, among other things:

  • Average monthly health care costs of MANNA clients fell 62% for three consecutive months after beginning service – a drop of almost $30,000.
  • For HIV/AIDS patients, costs fell over 80% in the first three months.
  • Even when MANNA clients’ needed hospitalization, their improved nutritional status resulted in reducing the average number of monthly visits to half that of the comparison group and their length of stay for inpatient visits was 37% shorter.
  • Monthly inpatient hospital costs of clients were 30% lower over the six months following initiation of services as compared to the six months prior to starting MANNA.
  • The costs of inpatient hospitalizations of MANNA clients were 40% lower. On average, the MCO paid out $12,000 less per month for MANNA clients.
  • MANNA clients were over 20% more likely to be released from the hospital to home rather than to long-term care or health care facility.
  • MANNA clients living with HIV/AIDS cost the MCO (Managed Care Organization) an average of $20,000 less per month.

For MANNA, the publication provided long sought after credentials for their work that could convince providers there was a less expensive and more effective way to reduce healthcare expenditures.

“With national healthcare looming just months away, hospitals and other healthcare organizations can breathe a little easier knowing that MANNA is a reliable partner to help them reduce costs and keep people healthier,” says Daugherty.  The nourishment provided “is life affirming” she continued, “and keeps people in their homes longer, enhancing quality of life as well as extending it.”

Walking through MANNA’s busy kitchen where a full culinary staff and 1500 volunteers monthly chop and dice busily, Daugherty says, “The publication of our study in the Journal of Primary Care just affirms what we always knew – there’s a miracle brewing on 23rd Street in Philadelphia. And that miracle is MANNA.”

Read our study in the Journal of Primary Care  by clicking here.

A MANNA Client Who is Back in the Game!

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“It was crazy,” Luz shared. “I had no feelings in my arms. I was having severe headaches and awful back pain. It was really scary.” Luz symptoms were caused by a herniation in her cerebellum called Chairi Malformation.

Luz’ doctor took immediate action and scheduled brain surgery. Next he called for MANNA meals.

Luz is a cancer survivor and has extremely high cholesterol and triglycerides. Her nutritional needs were complex. MANNA was the perfect solution. The heart-healthy meals full of lean proteins and vegetables prepared lovingly in the MANNA kitchen filled all of Luz’ needs. And the little touches brightened her recovery – her wonderful driver and the birthday cake and card. “MANNA sent me a birthday cake, AND even sent a cake for my son when HE turned 14. It was so sweet!”

Luz is healthy again – she is back in the game! MANNA meals helped her heal AND reduced her cholesterol and triglycerides. When you support MANNA, you support clients like Luz who rely on MANNA’s help during a crisis – want to help?

First Annual #MANNAGuac-off


On Sunday, June 23, 2013 – we held our very first Guac-off at Fleisher Art Memorial! What started out as an idea from the MANNA Young Friends Committee, turned into a full out event with 12 competitors including Mission Grill, Jose Pistola’s, Philly food truck Guerrilla Ultima and 8 year old superstar Alison Flam. All 12 competitors were tasked with the duty of preparing their signature guacamole recipe and to provide enough samples to feed 130 attendees.

When 6’2 host, Brittany Lynn – don/mother of the Drag Mafia walked into the venue, participants knew they were not only in for some good guacamole tasting but in for some entertainment as well! Outside of Brittany’s witty humor, attendees enjoyed chips, salsa, beverages, music and of course…guacamole!

MANNA’s Executive Chef, Keith Lucas and freelance writer and food enthusiastic, Drew Lazor had the tough job of judging all of the guacamole recipes (rough…right?) through a blind tasting and crowning the grand prize winner.

In the end, Guerrilla Ultima took home first place as Grand Prize winner and walked away with the Guac-off trophy as well as staycation package for 2 night stay at Embassy Suites Philadelphia including  breakfast and cocktail receptions and 2 passes to the Academy of Natural Science . The People’s Choice Award went to Adan Trinidad from Jose Pistola’s who gave his prize ($250 US Airways gift card) to 8 year old competitor Alison Flam- what a gentlemen!

MANNA raised over $3,500 enabling MANNA to provide 972 nourishing meals. To see photos from the event, check out our Facebook album.