Philanthropy Friday: Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA)

MANNA headquarters | Photo by Alan Brian Nilsen

MANNA headquarters | Photo by Alan Brian Nilsen

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), which works to feed people with terminal diseases like HIV in the Philadelphia area.

Sue on stage

MANNA Executive Director Sue Daugherty

Who are you? I am Sue Daugherty, executive director here at MANNA.

When was MANNA founded? MANNA was founded in 1990 by seven members of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Their mission was to comfort people suffering from AIDS at a time when ignorance of AIDS and the negative stigma associated with the disease was at its height. Often shunned and isolated from family and friends, our clients often found MANNA to be the only source of support and care they knew. After MANNA incorporated as a non-profit, non-sectarian organization, registered dietitians joined the staff to provide nutrition counseling as well as menu oversight, and MANNA began to start serving clients in all areas of the city. After moving to a townhouse on 20th Street, MANNA moved to its current location in 1997 and expanded to provide complete nutrition in 2008. In January, MANNA will be celebrating 25 years of serving clients throughout the Philadelphia region.

One-sentence mission statement: MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life.

MANNA's Pie in the Sky campaign is happening now.

MANNA’s Pie in the Sky campaign is happening now.

The organization’s shining moment, to date: In June 2013, findings of our three-year research study were published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, a peer-reviewed publication. Our groundbreaking study found significant health care cost savings occur when people maintain optimal nourishment during times of acute illness. This work is now being utilized by organizations across the country to make a case for the inclusion of food as medicine as a national standard of care.

If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep … I would drop to my knees and give thanks to the powers that be that my prayers had been answered. Then we would use the funds to expand its capacity to serve more clients. We would update our client services technology to integrate with electronic medical records and billing systems.

Special events coming up? October and November are our busiest and most exciting months. We officially launched 2014 Pie in the Sky season on October 1st. Pie in the Sky is MANNA‘s largest fundraiser with a host of exciting events leading up to Thanksgiving. Each pie sold provides a MANNA client and his or her family with a hot, delivered-fresh, Thanksgiving meal. There are five delicious pie flavors available and our goal is to exceed 8,000 pie orders. MANNA calls on the community for pie selling support. Anyone can sign up to be an individual pie seller or create a selling team today! Pie in the Sky gets competitive and top seller awards are presented. More information can be found at here.

We are also excited to launch the first annual Run4UrLife 3k on October 30th. This unique event will feature ghouls and terrifying creatures jumping out from behind tombstones and giving chase as runners make their way through West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Registration begins at 6 p.m., and the run starts at 7 p.m. The cost of the run is $30 and includes a Run4UrLife T-shirt. Runners can pre-register online here, and costumes are encouraged. All proceeds from Run4UrLife will benefit MANNA. Sponsors of the event include a handful of LGBT-owned business like ChatterBlast Media, and Unite Fitness, among others.

Are there other ways I can contribute without giving money? Certainly! MANNA always encourages new people to get involved and volunteer with us. Volunteers are crucial to daily operations at MANNA. The MANNA volunteers help to prepare and package the over 65,000 monthly meals being produced by the kitchen staff. They are the life-blood of the organization. The MANNA kitchen opens at 6 a.m. on weekdays with evening shifts on Mondays and Tuesdays. On an average day there are over 100 volunteers in the MANNA kitchen.

How can I donate money? You can donate by visiting, there you will find a donate button to become a member or make a donation. It’s super simple, and for every $25 donated, MANNA can provide approximately seven meals to one of our clients.

Want to have your nonprofit featured in an upcoming Philanthropy Friday? Email Samantha at