ParticipantsEvery day we show up to work, Manna staff and volunteers touch the lives of our neighbors experiencing hunger. Those receiving food or participating in nutrition education classes touch our lives as well. We consider those we serve “participants” rather than just “clients” because they, too, bring vision and assets to Manna’s mission of fighting hunger. As professionals we acknowledge the term “client” as an important indicator of the quality of services we offer, but as an organization we embrace the term “participant” as we move away from a transactions mentality into relationship building programming.
We consider those we serve “participants” rather than just “clients” because they, too, bring vision and assets to Manna’s mission of fighting hunger.Our participants’ backgrounds are as varied as their talents and goals. Manna works with seniors on a fixed budget, the mentally and physically disabled, those experiencing a temporary crisis and the working poor. Children are also of special concern to Manna. We serve 3,500 families each month, with children comprising one half of the individuals served. Those we serve are our neighbors and often become friends, and Manna is delighted to highlight one such story.
“Joann” grew up in West Africa before moving to Montgomery County. She is a single mother who worked as a caretaker but still required several forms of assistance to support her household. In 2013, Joann lost her job. Her daycare vouchers were terminated. Joann’s food stamps were delayed, but the cost of transportation to public social service offices became greater than the aid provided. She turned to Manna for support. Joann is a genuinely concerned citizen, having since guided other residents to Manna and formed close connections with staff. She is steadily advancing towards her goal of becoming a citizen and working for a Federal agency.Manna believes anything is possible with access to food, quality nutrition, and community engagement. We will persevere until all our neighbors, like Joann, are food secure.