March is National Nutrition Month®! It is a month-long campaign to inform the public of key nutrition topics and to acknowledge the professionals who promote these topics. While the Nutrition and Client Services team is represented by Registered Dietitians, they are also represented by Intake Specialists who are integral to the department and carrying out the MANNA Mission.
Intake Specialists are the first line of communication with potential and current MANNA clients. For potential clients, they help explain services and coordinate a referral. For current clients, they set them up with services, send corresponding materials, and remain the client’s point of contact for their duration of time on MANNA.
The Intake Specialists are also vital in communicating with Medical Care Providers from health networks and Care Coordinators from insurance companies. They are able to check and inform them of the status of a referral, answer questions about services, and obtain needed paperwork for client’s records. Within the department, Intake Specialists schedule nutrition counseling appointments with the Dietitians.
If you have ever come in our building to visit or volunteer, you can catch one of our Intake Specialists with a friendly smile in the hallway of the Nutrition and Client Services Department. There are five Intake Specialists in two offices- Alex Cuéllar, Desiree Archie, Frances Sebwe, Helen Kilmartin, and Jane Fiordeliso. Let’s take time to open those doors and get to know a little more about the names and faces of each Intake Specialist.
What do you love about working at MANNA?
Alex: I enjoy the interactions I establish on a daily basis with both my coworkers and the clients. I even had the privilege to meet with two or three clients when they came to the facility to pick up their meals.
Desiree: I love our mission. Nutrition is so vital for our optimal health yet there are so many people who are unaware about how to properly nourish themselves. I’m proud to be part of a team and organization that’s doing the work to make a difference.
Helen: One thing I especially love about working at MANNA is our community. I’ve met some amazing people while working here. Whether it’s a client, volunteer, or coworker. Everyone here is eager to help our community like jumping in the kitchen or run out to deliver meals if need be, and I love that!
What is your favorite meal to cook? What is a food that brings your comfort?
Frances: My favorite meal to cook is Jollof Rice. Liberian made rice bread brings me comfort.
Jane: I love cooking anything with pasta, which happens to be a comfort food. I also have a huge sweet tooth.
What is something that brings you joy?
Alex: I enjoy going to the gym after work to do some weightlifting. I also enjoy some Salsa dancing as part of my exercise regimen.
Desiree: My partner, friends, family, and pup.
Frances: My children.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
Helen: I wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, and my parents fully supported that journey. I was an extra in a movie when I was 12. The film may have received a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the experience I gained was 100%.
Jane: I can deadlift 2.5x my bodyweight.
What do you love most about Philadelphia?
Alex: The sights and sounds and the history like the National Constitution Center. Not to mention watching live events.
Desiree: The black artists, creatives, and wellness leaders. Both local and mainstream. The energy of the culture is pure Philly. Sidenote: go watch Abbott Elementary and Bel Air, both are by Philly-born folks and they’re incredible shows. You won’t be disappointed.
Frances: It’s a very lively city.
Helen: Philly is my home, I love the people! My neighbors and friends are my family. I find so much comfort when I’m on the bridge or highway and see the skyline, because that’s when I know I’m home.
Jane: The Sixers team and the various food and restaurant options.
One thing is clear – each Intake Specialist has a love of helping our MANNA clients and the MANNA community!