Thanksgiving at MANNA is truly the best day of the year. The MANNA community comes together to provide a decadent, yet traditional Thanksgiving meal to clients and their families. Everything from a turkey with all the trimmings to a delicious home-baked pie, the MANNA community supplies and delivers these loving meals free of charge! Nourishing our neighbors is what it is all about on Thanksgiving here at MANNA.

tgivs collage 03

Our staff will open the MANNA kitchen promptly at 5:30am to begin the day. The kitchen will be filled with 100 volunteers cooking, baking and packaging over 1,800 homemade Thanksgiving meals. 150 volunteer drivers will line up on Ranstead Street to deliver to 450 different MANNA clients and their families. MANNA looks forward to Mayor Nutter, along with other dignitaries, contributing to the volunteer efforts on this busy, yet gratifying day. We are thrilled to have District Attorney, Seth Williams volunteering in the kitchen again. It’s important to us that our clients celebrate this special holiday and have something for which to truly give thanks.

thanksgiving 04

Thanksgiving Day could not happen without our devoted volunteer force.

Our Thanksgiving Day sponsor, PECO is graciously underwriting the cost of the Thanksgiving meals. “MANNA is an incredible organization that provides a critical service to our community. As a PECO employee and member of their board for more than five years, I couldn’t be more proud of what PECO does to contribute financial and volunteer support to MANNA to help with their mission” shares Mike Giessmann, Director of Finance, PECO.

Want to get involved and help MANNA during the holiday season? Contact Glenda, our Volunteer Associate or call 215-496-2662 x100. We still have available volunteer shift opportunities!


Kitchen Panarama

Food Safety, Access & the Impact on Low Income Families

A sobering study released by researchers at Drexel provides more evidence that inequities in our food system present health threats to low-income populations in Philadelphia. Taking samples from almost 400 corner stores and small grocery stores from 2008 to 2010, the researchers found that foods available in less affluent neighborhoods were significantly more likely to be rotten or contaminated. Milk, fruits, and vegetables were more likely to go bad soon after purchase than those sold in more affluent neighborhoods. Ultimately, the study showed that when staples and healthy foods were available in poor neighborhoods, it was often at the cost of food safety.


This isn’t necessarily an insidious finding; people are not deliberately serving contaminated food to the poor. Rather, many stores in low-income neighborhoods seem to simply lack the capacity to store and serve foods the way that stores in middle or high income areas do. Refrigerated items are more likely to sit out longer as smaller staffs work to stock coolers and refrigerators, and profit margins are so thin that many stores may not be able to afford proper refrigeration

These issues of food safety are a part of the larger food access problem in Philadelphia, however work is being done to alleviate these ills. The city government, working with the Food Trust and several other organizations, is addressing healthy food access through the Get Healthy Philly program, which includes funding and capacity building for healthy corner stores and healthy food retail in under served communities.

However, while these efforts are making  great strides in improving food access in Philadelphia, Drexel’s study has striking implications for MANNA’s vulnerable clients. While healthy people might get sick from contaminated or spoiled foods, the illnesses are fairly mild and temporary. A person may experience nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, but it will likely be short-lived, and many people won’t even know it was caused by their food. However, for critically ill patients, these food safety issues are far more concerning as a compromised immune system might result in more serious consequences of foodborne illnesses. This is yet more evidence that the critically ill deserve and need carefully prepared home-delivered meals, so that their safety and health can be protected.


In spite of the food injustice emphasized by Drexel’s study, with the many initiatives to build a strong network of healthy food retailers in the city, Philadelphia is moving in the right direction to address the issue. However, at MANNA we also recognize that our clients are particularly vulnerable to the still-present issues in our food system, and we continue to work to safely nourish those who need it most.


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