The Power of Food as Medicine

MANNA uses nutrition to improve health for people with serious illnesses who need nourishment to heal. By providing medically tailored meals and nutrition education, we empower people to improve their health and quality of life.

MANNA is a leader in evidence-based nutrition services, bringing together dietitians, chefs, drivers, and thousands of volunteers to cook and deliver nutritious, medically appropriate meals and provide nutrition counseling to neighbors who are battling life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, renal disease, and HIV/AIDS. From hands-on cooking classes and nutrition counseling to the delivery of 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, MANNA provides nourishment, hope, and healing to the Greater Philadelphia area, Southern New Jersey, and beyond.

Volunteers have been the heart of MANNA since our founding in 1990. Each year 6,500 caring neighbors donate more than 54,000 hours of their time in the MANNA kitchen. Together they chop, dice, cook, and package meals enabling MANNA to provide meals and counseling at no cost to our clients. For them, each freshly prepared meal is a reminder that the community cares. Love is the secret ingredient to our nourishment.

At MANNA, we have shown that proper nutrition and education significantly improves overall health. A study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Primary Care and Community Health clearly demonstrated the health benefits and cost savings generated by MANNA’s medically tailored, therapeutic meals and nutrition counseling. On average, monthly healthcare costs were 31% less and hospitalizations were cut in half compared to patients not receiving MANNA’s services. This translates to an average savings of $13,000 per month, highlighting the efficacy and importance of MANNA’s comprehensive nutrition services for people with serious illnesses.

We are not the only ones who understand the power of food as medicine: lawmakers and health insurers are taking notice as well. Our local and national advocacy efforts shine a spotlight on the need for medically appropriate meals to be incorporated in standard healthcare delivery models. MANNA continues to forge new partnerships with local health insurers who reimburse MANNA for providing services to their members, knowing that our services will bring about improved health and reduced healthcare costs. These partnerships illustrate MANNA’s vision for the future – a healthcare system that recognizes the healing effects of proper nutrition for people with serious illnesses.