Looking Ahead in Nutrition & Client Services

The year 2020 challenged many of us in ways we never thought imaginable. The Nutrition & Client Services Department at MANNA had to adjust their roles to the new normal. We are hopeful and excited for what 2021 has in store. Here are some of the big picture ideas we are planning to bring to our clients:

Virtual Nutrition Classes In the fall of 2020 we rolled out our first three part virtual Get Fresh cooking class series. All classes were held over zoom and led by our Registered Dietitians and Head Chef.  The classes focused on teaching participants how to make balanced meals out of their pantry items. Participants observed a cooking demonstration followed by a brief nutrition education session in the comfort of their own home. In 2021 we plan to roll out at least three more virtual Get Fresh series as well as partner with other community organizations to deliver virtual education.

Meal Bag Tips This was a previous client favorite that we are ramping up in 2021. Meal bag tips are a way for clients who do not have access to the internet to receive weekly nutrition education inside of their meal bags.  The focus of these tips will be to provide nutrition education around managing chronic illness as well as offer snack and meal recipes for when clients cycle off the program. 

Cooking Demonstrations Be on the lookout in the coming weeks to view brief recorded cooking demonstrations from MANNA Dietitians and Chefs. These will live on our MANNA Youtube page and other social media platforms. They will feature short five-minute meals and kitchen hacks for MANNA clients and the Philadelphia community at large.

Food Labels In the coming months we are planning to roll out new food labels for our meals. This label will show grams on specific macro and micronutrients as well as ingredient information. This will help to keep clients informed about specific menu items and be a tool for our Dietitians to use during their one-on-one counseling sessions.

These are just a few of the changes on the horizon in the coming months, but the sky is the limit to the creativity and reach of the Nutrition and Client Services Department. Clients are always welcome to call for any nutrition related questions or to schedule a free nutrition counseling appointment over the phone by dialing 215-496-2662 ext 5.  Here’s to 2021!

A 30th Year to Remember

We began this year with big plans to celebrate our 30th Anniversary – full of love, memories, and gathering with our extended community.

While the year certainly played out much differently than we planned, we still found ourselves surrounded by the love and support of the community who has been with us for 30 years, as well as so many new friends, supporters, volunteers and donors.

While the pandemic shut down much of Philadelphia, MANNA continued to be recognized as an essential service. Our doors stayed open, our client census climbed to the highest numbers we have ever seen, and our community rallied behind our clients and their families – some of the area’s most vulnerable citizens.

Inside our kitchen, we made many changes for the health and safety of our volunteers, staff, and clients. We instituted masks and social distancing, reduced the number of volunteers per shift, condensed our hours, changed our delivery protocols, and added additional safety trainings and health questionnaires.

From increased expenses in our kitchen to the urgent need for PPE, we are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from Philadelphia’s philanthropic community – foundations, corporations, families and individuals.

That brings us to our incredible volunteers – Volunteers are Essential. Since the onset of the pandemic in early March, 2,648 unique individuals have heroically volunteered in our kitchen or on the road delivering meals – totaling over 58,000 hours.

From all of us here at MANNA – thank you for standing with us. Whether this is your first year as a member of our community or your 30th, we are grateful to you.We couldn’t do it without you.
Here’s to a safe and healthy 2021.