The Promise of Spring & Spirit of Renewal

Notes from the CEO – Jackie DeCarlo

The promise of spring is around us. We’ve all reset our clocks, and many of us have started making our plans for school breaks and important religious holidays. Manna is gearing up for many hunger-fighting activities in a spirit of renewal: Our bus, “Manny,” is out from hibernation, sporting new sponsorship logos and a calendar full of Pop-up Pantry activities and learning opportunities. Another new school-based pantry is offering free shopping opportunities. We are putting the final touches on the program and silent auction for Heroes Against Hunger on March 28. I hope to see you there as we salute individuals and institutions who have helped make our 35 years of fighting hunger possible.

CEO Jackie DeCarlo and Board Chair Mitchell Glassman (right) with State Senator Cheryl Kagan and Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr (center) and other local organizations advocating for state funding.

That’s all the usual type of spring activity, but more is happening behind the scenes. Late last year I signed a lease on new program and office space in Silver Spring. Our warehouse will be staying in Gaithersburg as the distribution hub reaching more than 31,000 people throughout the County at almost two dozen distribution sites. But in order to be closer to neighborhoods like Aspen Hill, Fairland, White Oak, and Wheaton, we need a Center for sharing food and building skills. This summer we’ll be opening a new space, and I can’t wait to give supporters like you a tour! Full disclosure: we’ll also be renovating the warehouse this summer, but I haven’t ironed out all those details — rest assured we will continue services no matter what. Please let me know if you have any questions about our expansion plans.

On the home front, I’m going to be constructing my first ever raised-bed garden. I like to dabble in the yard and was recently motivated by a wellness lesson during a Manna staff meeting. Heart disease runs in my family so fresh veggies can help me avoid common diet-related pitfalls. At home and at work, this is clearly a season of building and growing and caring. I wish the same for you and hope to see you out in the community soon to enjoy the season together.