Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This month, we encourage everyone to take time to consider the risk factors for diabetes and to take steps to prevent it.

Did you know?

There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Only about 5% of diabetics are type 1, and many of those are diagnosed in childhood or as young adults. Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women (about 2-10%) and typically ends after pregnancy. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and tends to develop in adulthood and is preventable. Comorbidities or complications associated with diabetes are severe. Many are common and can cause serious, long-term consequences including: hypoglycemia, hypertension (affecting 71% of adults with diabetes), dyslipidemia (affecting 65% of adults with diabetes), cardiovascular disease (death rates are 1.7 times higher with diabetes), heart attack (1.8 higher hospitalization rate with diabetes), stroke (1.5 higher hospitalization rate with diabetes), blindness (in diabetics over 40 years in age, 28.5% have damage to blood vessels in eyes that may leads to blindness), kidney disease (diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure in 44% of all new cases) and amputations (73,000 in 2010 alone, accounting for 60% of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations).

Diabetes is the 4th most common primary illness in clients served by MANNA. In the past year alone, MANNA has served 433 diabetic clients, comprising 23% of all MANNA clients. As of 2012, 9.3% of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes – almost 1 in 10! Over a quarter of all seniors have diabetes and it is now the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. There are 1.7 million new cases per year and approximately 7 million diabetics are undiagnosed.


The most effective way to prevent and control diabetes is through a proper diet. A proper diabetic diet is more than just skipping out on cake and cookies. Managing diabetes through diet requires portion control, meal regularity and balance. Diabetics must regulate the amount of carbohydrates in their diets in order to keep blood glucose levels safe. Balancing carbohydrates with protein and fiber is important as well. If blood glucose levels spike too high or drop too low the effects can range from shakiness and fatigue to hospitalization and seizures. Working with a Dietitian and/or a Certified Diabetes Educator can help diabetics make smart choices and minimize the risk of high or low blood sugar. MANNA’s dietitians provide free nutrition counseling and education for individuals suffering from diabetes. To schedule an appointment, contact the Nutrition Department at 215-496-2662 x5.


MANNA is also proud to share that we will Step Out for Diabetes! On Saturday, November 1st, the MANNAmals will once again be at the Art Museum to support The Walk to Stop Diabetes. We’re committed to walk and raise money in this inspirational event not because 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because we personally know some of them, and want to do something about it. So many lives are touched by diabetes. Chances are your life is too. Join us or donate – either way, you can change lives. For more information or to register, visit our Team Page or search for Team MANNA. We are forever grateful for your support. Together we can Stop Diabetes!


get ready to run4urlife

Have you heard all of the #Run4UrLife craze? If not, allow us to tell you all about the first ever spooky fun run 3k through West Hill Laurel Cemetery on October 30th! We are beyond excited to launch this unique event that encourages fitness and benefits MANNA.

The idea for Run4UrLife came about at an Independence Business Alliance meeting hosted by Comcast when our very own Rob Saxon got to talking with Matthew Ray of Chatterblast, Deb Cassidy of West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Klay Fennel of Comcast, and Gavin McKay of Unite Fitness. What started as a cool idea quickly become a very real and very happening event thanks to some amazing professionals in this city coming together.

Tag Strategies generated a logo, poster, and t-shirt design and Sage Communications provided their public relations expertise to get us some media coverage. Christopher Gabello and Gabello Studios shot and directed an amazing PSA for Run4UrLife and we thank Comcast for getting it out there for all to see!

The OFFICIAL Run4UrLife video:

We are so grateful to have such wonderful partners working with us. The funds raised from Run4UrLife are going to help MANNA continue to nourish critically ill neighbors in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Don’t miss out on all of the fun! Get your costume ready, lace up your sneakers and get ready to #Run4UrLife. After you outrun the ghosts and ghouls of the cemetery there will be drinks, snacks and fun at a 2-hour after party in the West Laurel Hill Cemetery Conservatory. Prizes will be awarded to the best costumes of the night. We look forward to seeing everyone on Mischief Night for some bone-chilling fun!




You can register for this frightfully fun Halloween event HERE.


MANNA is excited to participate in the AIDS Walk Philly 5k as a returning partner organization. This Sunday, the MANNAmals are joining thousands of our neighbors to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. We hope you will join us as well.

Each year The AIDS Fund sponsors the Walk and other activities that support AIDS service providers in the Philadelphia Region that provide AIDS and HIV-related services, education, and prevention including increasing public awareness of HIV/AIDS issues. This includes support of MANNA’s work to nourish people with HIV/AIDS.

Team MANNA knows that the awareness and funds raised at the Walk will help over 30,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the Philadelphia region, some of whom are MANNA’s clients. You should know that contributions made through our team directly help MANNA continue to prepare and deliver meals to those living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Why We Walk

Supporting those touched by HIV/AIDS is important to all of us at MANNA.  In 1990, when MANNA was founded members of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, our mission was to comfort people suffering from AIDS at a time when ignorance and negative stigma was at its height. Often shunned and isolated from family and friends, MANNA was often the only source of support and care our clients knew. We will never forget those days and will continue to serve and support people with HIV/AIDS as long as there is a need.

Like MANNA, the AIDS Fund has remained committed to the philosophy that by coming together, each individual can make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS in our community. We are extremely grateful to have them as a partner. In addition to their financial support, volunteers from the AIDS Fund support our Pie in the Sky fundraiser, helping to sell pies and working during the distribution to ensure that every pie makes it to the proper Thanksgiving table. MANNA supports the AIDS Fund’s commitment to conquering HIV/AIDS in our communities and hope you will join us.


ijjhn walkaids



Nutrition and Healing

As the evidence mounts in support of nutrition being a key facet of health care, one progressive hospital has actually begun funding its own nutrition services for discharged patients. Carney Hospital in Boston, in response to penalties for high readmission, hired City Fresh Foods to deliver free meals to patients at particular nutritional risk. The hospital knew that doctors were advising patients on what kinds of diets they needed to eat in order to recover from their illnesses, but high readmission rates proved that this advice was simply not being heeded in the home. Lifestyle changes are difficult, especially those pertaining to diet, and this new program assists patients to succeed by providing them with some of the food that they need.


This is not a new concept; at MANNA, we deliver medically-tailored meals to patients to prevent hospital readmissions and help with the healing process. In Boston, Community Servings does similar work, and in cities around the country other organizations exist with likeminded missions. However, what is happening at Carney Hospital is new, because of who is footing the bill. At MANNA, Community Servings, and other similar organizations, the funding comes from a variety of sources including fundraising efforts, private donors, and grants. However, in this case Carney Hospital is paying for the meal service. This makes it far more sustainable and expandable, because the funding source also gains the cost savings, while at MANNA the financial beneficiaries are external entities like hospitals and insurance companies. MANNA doesn’t save money for itself by helping clients, but Carney Hospital will. Therefore, the financial capacity limitations that MANNA and other similar organizations operate under disappear when hospitals and insurance companies start supporting the savings that nutrition earns.

MANNA’s research proves that home delivered medically-tailored meals save money for insurance companies, patients, and hospitals. This is one of the first cases of a hospital using this evidence to start an initiative that will save it money and reduce readmission rates. We are excited to see all of the good that will come from Carney’s program, and hope that other hospitals will follow suit. MANNA, Community Servings, and other organizations around the country already exist and are skilled at designing and providing medically-tailored diets. Through partnerships with the organizations that receive the cost savings when patients receive these services, these organizations will be able to serve many more people, and have a much larger impact on their communities.

This post is by Kelly McGlynn, rising senior at Brown University and former Advocacy & Health Policy Intern at MANNA.

MANNA takes on D.C. at ACBP ’14

MANNA’s advocacy team – Executive Director, Sue Daugherty, Director of Policy and Institutional Affairs, Ann Hoskins-Brown, and Community Outreach & Advocacy Specialist, Katelyn Baron – attended the 2014 Advocacy Capacity Building Project (ACBP) Symposium September 29-October 1, at NASTAD in Washington D.C. The annual symposium encourages collaboration between “sister” organizations from all over the country, with over 50 attendees from 20 diverse food and nutrition services agencies this year. Each participant had the opportunity to share their best practices and recent advocacy activities; MANNA presented updates on how we are working to leverage our groundbreaking research with targeted advocacy work. Together, we brainstormed and discussed topics including the power of evidence and developing and delivering an impactful message.

The symposium offered several opportunities to participate in advocacy trainings to learn the tools of the trade, helping to facilitate successful interactions with elected officials and academic institutions. This training was crucial for our visits with staff from the offices of Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congressman Bob Brady, Senator Bob Casey and Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, along with several New Jersey legislators. Our Hill meetings, scheduled for our final day in D.C., provided the opportunity to share our “food is medicine” model and research with policymakers to demonstrate its potential to change healthcare. MANNA’s services save Pennsylvania valuable healthcare dollars and our clients experience improved health outcomes. We believe our meal program should be a reimbursable standard of care and a right to everyone facing a life-threatening illness.

Overall, our time in DC opened our eyes to many new possibilities. There is still much to learn and we are excited to redefine our goals and continue to move forward with our mission. ACBP has empowered us to take on new advocacy goals focused at the state level. It was motivating and refreshing to share and hear new ideas about our unique services. MANNA has many challenges ahead, but we will continue to advocate for the incorporation of nutrition into healthcare.

We want to thank The M•A•C AIDS Fund, The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, AIDS United, the National AIDS Housing Coalition, Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) for all of their support. To all of our sister organizations, we thank you for collaborating and learning with us. These organizations include: God’s Love We Deliver, Project Angel Food, Open Hand Atlanta, Project Angel Heart, AIDS Project New Haven, AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Moveable Feast, Community Servings, Project Open Hand, Bill’s Kitchen, Inc., Heartland Health Outreach, Mama’s Kitchen, Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Food & Friends, The Poverello Center, Lifelong AIDS Alliance and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


To see more pictures from our DC visit, see our Facebook album.



Seasonal Vegetarian-Friendly Recipe

In honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, MANNA would like to share with you a vegetarian friendly recipe that is simple to make and delicious.  Reducing your meat intake has a number of health benefits including reducing your risk of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.  There are many ways to get the necessary protein requirements into your diet that do not include animal products.  The recipe below features black beans which are a great source of both protein and fiber.  In less than 30 minutes you will have a delicious entrée that supports your health and satisfies your taste buds!Smoky_Black_Bean_and_Butternut_Ragout-458x326

Smoky Black Bean and Butternut Ragoût


1 tsp. fresh lime juice

3 tsp. pure maple syrup, divided

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 lb. peeled butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice (4 cups)

1 small yellow onion, cut into medium dice (½ cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

1 15.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp. adobo sauce from can of chipotles in adobo

⅓ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese

2–3 Tbs. chopped or whole cilantro or mint leaves

¼ cup toasted pepitas or toasted chopped pecans, optional



  1. Combine lime juice and 1 tsp. maple syrup in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat butter and 1 Tbs. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, and season with salt, if desired. Cover pan, and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover pan, add onion, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until squash is tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat, and gently stir in lime-maple mixture.
  3. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until softened and fragrant. Add beans, adobo sauce, remaining 2 tsp. maple syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed.
  4. Gently stir together bean mixture and squash. Serve garnished with queso fresco, cilantro, and pepitas (if using).


Source: www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/smoky-black-bean-and-butternut-ragout/