After taking a fresh look at its work & mission, Manna Food Center released a 2017-2020 strategic plan.  Our mission remains the same as when we began in 1983: to strive to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education, and advocacy.  Our core values have been reaffirmed as service, respect, & partnership.  Through our planning process, Manna articulated an ambitious new vision: Our community is a place where all people at all times have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious food in order to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to making Montgomery County, Maryland a place where all live in dignity.

For the next three years, with support from our community, Manna will focus on pursuing its mission and vision by focusing on three top priorities.  Within each priority are specific goals that help shape our day-to-day activities.

Priority I: Participant-centered & data driven program delivery

  • Neighborhoods of limited access receive healthful, culturally appropriate food in settings that offer hospitality and respond to community requests
  • Montgomery County’s most vulnerable residents are well fed: Seniors receive food that is appropriate to their medical needs/residential situations; elementary school students have the nourishment they need to achieve; disabled individuals have a reliable source of food
  • Participants serve on and advise the Manna Board of Directors
  • Participants shop and cook according to their cultural, physical, and economic circumstances.
  • Participants have access to the maximum food and nutrition benefits available to them through local, state, and Federal programs
  • Volunteers are offered a range of opportunities to give of their time and talent
  • Manna is recognized as a high-performing organization committed to standards of professional excellence
  • Manna’s fleet of vehicles is well-maintained, eye-catching, affordable, safe, and capable of transporting food according to program outcomes and applicable food safety standards

Priority II: Community Leadership & Advocacy

  • Food security is a cornerstone of efforts toward eliminating poverty and promoting prosperity in Montgomery County
  • Experimentation and Innovation advance Montgomery County’s efforts to food access for all
  • Public funding for Manna’s core programs is maintained
  • Safety net and community building efforts are integrated to advance economic opportunity and well-being for all

Priority III: A values-based business model that supports the people who make our work possible

  • Staffing levels and compensation packages recruit and retain high-performing, dedicated professionals
  • Staff and volunteers work in office and warehouse environments that foster teamwork and community engagement, allow for state-of-the art program delivery, build on and develops skills, reflect different communication styles and preferences, and are aligned with methods of receiving and sharing fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable food
  • Maintain a three month operating reserve while achieving a balanced budget that keeps pace with growth

Manna will judge our success on the basis of quantifiable and qualitative indicators created each year.  We will also evaluate our impact in the context of community efforts such as the county’s Food Security Plan. Manna Food Center has also accepted the United Nations Zero Hunger 2030 Challenge.  Here in Montgomery County, Maryland, we are thinking globally and acting locally to achieve our vision of good food for everyone all the time.

The plan is a “living document” that will change and evolve as we reach our goals and as our strategies are tested.  For the latest information, contact Jackie DeCarlo, Chief Executive Officer at jackie@mannafood.org or 240.268.2524.