Notes From our Executive Director
Dear friend of Manna,
     Although school was out during the summer, Manna did a little bit of testing. In June & July we completed our annual client and staff surveys to get feedback and input into the effectiveness of our programs and the status of our team.
      Manna has, in my humble opinion, the best team in Montgomery County. Our dedicated staff of two dozen individuals embraces our core values of service, respect, and collaboration to pursue our mission of eliminating hunger in our community. We are as beautiful as the county itself-reflecting diverse ethnicities, classes, races, and religions. Our skills range from navigating suburban and rural roads behind the wheel of 20 foot trucks, to serving clients with professionalism and compassion, to building donor relationships, to collaborating with partners of all kinds...and much, much more.
     One of my main goals as Executive Director is to serve this incredible staff so they can do their best to serve the community. I was humbled and gratified when our survey results showed 67% of the Manna team rated their experience working at Manna as excellent. This was up from 32% in FY15. Other notable responses were that 73% agree or strongly agree that their opinions count at Manna, and 87% believe Manna is on the right path to achieving its mission.
     Feedback from our client survey was encouraging as well. Our service was rated good or excellent by 92% of our participants. 92% also indicated they use most or all of food received, indicating that we are providing quality, healthy food and also helping avoid food waste at the household level. The most popular suggestion we received, from 73% of participants, was the request for a larger portion of fresh fruits and vegetables.
     One of my favorite sayings around Manna is that I don't expect perfection but I do expect excellence. I think that this summer's survey responses indicate Manna is making the most of its high caliber team to deliver exceptional programs. You as a community member should also expect no less, and I thank you for your support .
Jackie DeCarlo
Executive Director
Arriving Soon:  Manna's Annual Report

Are you on Manna's mailing list? We would love to send you our FY16 Annual Report, which should be arriving in mailboxes of our wonderful supporters in the next 2 weeks.

Manna only does physical mailings a few times a year, so email Therese if you want to make sure we have your correct information.  If a hard copy isn't your style, we will upload the report digitally to our website as well.  
 Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm

Dedicates High Tunnel

Members of Executive Board, Jackie and Farmer Mills celebrate the High Tunnel.
     What is a high tunnel, you ask?  Sometimes called a hoop house, a high tunnel is an unheated greenhouse that allows farmers to extend their growing season. That means more locally produced (and, in this case, certified organic) produce donated to Manna all year long.
     Manna's Farm to Food Bank program enabled the organization to share 135,000 pounds of fresh, local produce with the nearly 35,000 adults and children served last year. Typically the harvest from participating farms and farmers markets falls off after November when the normal growing season ends. The high tunnel's primary contribution will be crops grown throughout winter: kale, radish, spinach, carrots, beets, cabbage, turnip, arugula, and lettuce, extending the Farm to Food Bank season to year-round.
     Caroline Taylor, Executive Director of Montgomery Countryside Alliance proudly explained how Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm is a product of the County's New Farmer Pilot program and the Alliance's Landlink program that seeks to "link" beginner and experienced farmers with available land and farms within Montgomery County.  Heather Bruskin, Manager of the Montgomery County Food Council spoke of the importance of a sustainable local food system to ensuring food security across the County. Representatives from the Office of Agricultural Services, Montgomery County Extension, County Councilmember Roger Berliner, Poolesville Commissioner, and members of Manna's Board of Directors were also on hand to dedicate the high tunnel and celebrate this milestone in our Farm to Food Bank partnership.
     Farmer Mills described the importance of his partnership with Manna in this way--
"That I could reap the bounty of the land, so graciously provided by the good people of Montgomery County, just moments away from such need...without acting to their benefit would be unconscionable. Fortunately, Manna saves me from such a fate and provides me the opportunity to be a part of something special, from which so much else can spring. Not only do we feel honored to partner with Manna, but feel the better for it."
For the last 7 years, Manna has partnered with local farms and farmers markets to share the abundance of our region with Montgomery County families experiencing food insecurity.  
Eagle Scout Project Pays It Forward
Ethan Kach first learned about Manna Food Center through the Boy Scouts' participation in "Scouting For Food". Ethan has been working for five years to reach the honor of Eagle Scout. Completing this project inches Ethan closer to his goal, and gifts Manna with a physical reminder of the kindness of our community.  Read more on this week's blog post below!

Ethan Kach stopped by last week with a handcrafted gift for Manna. Two in fact.   Ethan first learned about Manna Food Center through the Boy Scouts' participation in "Scouting For Food". Ethan walked door to door the past four years for this annual food drive. Once a neighbor asked Ethan to volunteer in our warehouse... Continue reading Ethan's story ...
Breaking Bread

     Enjoying food is common to, and essential for, all of us as human beings.  No matter what the culture or cuisine, sharing a meal with others is one of the best ways to break down barriers. Manna Food Center has begun a "breaking bread" conversation series to help solidify common values necessary to successfully combat hunger.  In 2015 we began creating space and intentional conversations to nurture dialogue around critical issues, such as race, class, and a culture of dependency, that create or contribute to hunger and food insecurity in our community.
     Elements of Breaking Bread's approach have drawn from Harvard's School of Education and were facilitated by our friends at the Jeff Miller Consulting Alliance and Trusted Space Partners.  Funding for our work comes from the Samuel and Harriett Miller Fund, in memory of Jeff's parents.
     Our conversations have inspired greater unity and determination among Manna's staff.  Breaking Bread's  dialogue is urgently needed and we've committed ourselves to a series of activities designed to help us build connections across lines of difference.  Doing so will help Manna be more effective in fulfilling our mission.  In the community, the crisis mentality of recent recession years is fading, and hunger within our otherwise affluent county is easily camouflaged. That is why Manna has expanded Breaking Bread gatherings to include those we serve, Board members and a range of community supporters and decision makers.
     Our project helps those gathered understand our participants' ever-changing needs and, perhaps more importantly, their significant untapped potential. Manna hopes to spark new networks as we come together as a community to promote self-sufficiency and share prosperity.
For more information about Breaking Bread, listen to a podcast,  
"Hunger is Your Next Door Neighbor."  Click Here to join the conversation.

Community Food Rescue
A Blog by: Cheryl Kollin

Volunteers are the life-blood of Community Food Rescue (CFR). We literally couldn't provide donated food to serve our community without them. We're recruiting new volunteers now to keep up with the donations we're receiving, particularly from our local farms that have an abundance to donate during this harvest season.   Volunteers transport food directly from food ... Continue reading CFR Volunteer Food Runners Deliver ...
New Online Fundraising Tool Available!

Thanks to Medstar Montgomery Medical Center for being the first to test out our new peer to peer fundraising platform.  Last month they hosted a Foods and Funds Drive to benefit Manna Food Center.  The hospital team had their personalized MMMC website that kept a running tally of donations and donors could even dedicate their donations.  The drive brought in a total of 758 pounds of food and $3,500 for the Smart Sacks Program.  Thank you to all our friends at Medstar Montgomery Medical Center for answering the call to help their neighbors in need in such a fun, innovative way.  Check out their page here!

Starting your own fundraiser is easy to do, and it's fun. We'll even give you all the tools you'll need to make a difference. 
  • We have pre-built templates-- Send emails and social media messages to supporters based on expert-tested templates.
  • A Smarter Donation Page-- Solicit more donations with proven-success templates established from industry best practices.
  • Automated Notifications & Emails-- Keep your campaign on track with various automated features designed to get you closer to your goal.
"Our Smart Sacks initiative was a great success! We met our Food & Fund Drive goal by collecting over 700 lbs of food & donating more than $3,500! Having our own dedicated webpage made the fundraising easy & more fun. A special thanks to all associates who supported this worthwhile program. Because of your generosity, we are helping to stop childhood hunger in Montgomery County!"-Wendy Smith, Team Leader, Medstar Montgomery Medical Center

By starting your own fundraiser, you will help Manna help more people in our community. For more information or to start your fundraiser today, email Mardia.
We Stuffed The Bus

Our 2016-2017 school year Smart Sacks program kicked off in a big way this year with a 5% Day Stuff The Bus Extravaganza with Whole Foods Markets on August 24th. This day long foods and funds drive, staffed by volunteers, included all 5 stores across Montgomery County, involved all our friends and supporters focusing their efforts to raise over $27,000 and  nearly 7,000lbs of food through store and individual donations. Our partners at MCPS even dispatched school buses for generous shoppers to stuff with healthy, family-oriented foods that will support the 2800 Smart Sacks participants we plan to serve this school year. We are grateful for the corporate partnership with Whole Foods Market, MCPS and incredibly humbled by the outpouring of volunteer support during major campaigns such as this one as well as all throughout the year through personal giving.   Together we are making a major impact in childhood hunger in Montgomery County.  Thank you for all you continue to do!  
Available Volunteer Opportunities: 

Food Distribution
Volunteers help, Mon-Fri from 9am-3pm, pack and sort food, bag produce and meat, assist clients to their car, and take in food donations.
Must be 17 years of age of older.  This opportunity is approved for SSL hours.
distro volunteers 2015

Client Services Representative
Help log referrals by phone, fax, and email in to our database.  Volunteers must be able to commit to a minimum of 6 months. 
English/Spanish bi-lingual skills are required. 
Shifts Currently Available:
 Day or Evening Floater 
(Shift varies based on need)
 2nd Saturday of the Month, 10am-2pm 

(monthly commitment)
Email Katie 
for more information.

Satellite Distribution Centers
Volunteers help, Tuesday at Catholic Charities and Wednesday at Long Branch Community Center from 3pm-7pm, distributing prepacked boxes, assisting clients to their car, and taking in food donations. 
Must be 17 years of age of older.  This opportunity is approved for SSL hours.
wheaton satellite  
Food Runner
Join Community Food Rescue (CFR), Montgomery County's network for food recovery. Help deliver rescued food to area shelters.
Click here to learn how you can help feed more and waste less.

For more information about these and any other volunteer opportunities visit our website.

september 2015 harvest
Harvest Day at First Fruits Farm
Volunteers harvest thousands of pounds of first-rate produce each year for Manna's clients. 

Saturday, September 24th 
8:30am to 12pm. 
Where:  First Fruits Farm near Freeland, MD 

Farm is about an hour north of Baltimore.
Volunteers will harvest and bag produce. Volunteers must be 7+ and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, 21 or older.  Volunteers must provide their own transportation to the field. 

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Donors
We extend a warm and sincere THANK YOU to all of the organizations and businesses 
that have donated food and funds between July 16, 2016 - August 15, 2016. 

Without your incredible generosity, we would not be able to feed families in our community. 

Asbury Communities
Bethesda Central Farmers' Market
Bethesda Co-Op
B'nai Israel Congregation
BNI Rockville Wednesday
Brown Station E.S.
Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
Capital Area Food Bank
Capital Chinese SDA Church
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
Chevy Chase United Methodist Church
Christ the Servant Lutheran Church
Church of The Redeemer
City of Gaithersburg
City of Rockville
Colesville Presbyterian Church
Crystal Clear Automation, Inc.
Department of Finance
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
First Baptist Church of Rockville
First Fruits Farm
Gaithersburg Chinese Alliance Church
Giant Food
Global Mission Church
Harris Teeter
Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County
Jones Lang LaSalle
Julia Bindeman Suburban Center
Kaiser Permanente
King Farm Community Garden
King Farm Community Services Group
Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op
MCPS Nutrition Services
Medstar Montgomery Medical Center
Montgomery County
Montgomery County Master Gardeners
Morgan Stanley
MSI Avengers Football Club
Norman's Farm Market
Norwood School
Olney Farmers & Artists' Market
Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.
Potomac Woods Swim Team
Q Lux Spa
Redland Baptist Church
Response Tech
Robert Pence Remodeling, Inc.
Rockville Farmers' Market
Saint Mark Presbyterian Church
SEBA Gardens
Self Storage White Flint
Shrine of St. Jude
Sodexo Foundation
St. Rose of Lima
State of Maryland
Sunflower Bakery
TD Charitable Foundation
The Cleaning Authority
Tikvat Israel Congregation
Tilden M.S.
Trader Joe's
Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville
United Way of Charles County, Inc.
United Way of Greater Knoxville
Village of Martin's Additions
Voortman Cookies
Watkins Pond Community Garden
Whole Foods Market

If we accidentally missed your business or organization in our list, please email  Therese Lampe and we will make the correction in our next list.  We wish we could also list each of the individuals who contribute to Manna; thank you all again for your support!  
If you're interested in donating food, making a financial contribution, or volunteering, 
please contact us at:
Manna Food Center
9311 Gaither Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20877 

Remember to support Manna through your workplace giving campaign.
United Way # 8846 - CFC # 23028 

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Manna Food Center | 9311 Gaither Road | Gaithersburg | MD | 20877