For families struggling to make ends meet, food pantries are often the main source of important ingredients for a well-balanced diet. Healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, are often bypassed in the grocery store because their cost is too great. When a head of cabbage costs more than a 10-pack of hotdogs, it’s hard to make the “right” choice.
Cheap options like these are usually full of saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars, making these “convenience” foods hardly convenient in the long run. A multitude of studies have shown that regular consumption of these foods in place of a balanced diet may lead to chronic diseases, like type II diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and even certain types of cancer.
Food pantries like Manna are uniquely situated to positively influence the eating habits of their clients. By improving the nutritional value of the food we distribute, we provide families with healthy options so that they can lead healthier lives.
Thanks to the generosity of our communities, Manna has been able to make nutrition the first priority. Through our Produce, Protein, and Dairy initiative, Manna provides free produce and half-cost protein and dairy products to all of our pantry partners to ensure everyone has access to nutrient-rich foods. MSU Extension has been instrumental in continuing educational classes.
Produce, Protein & Dairy
- Providing over 100,000 pounds of high-quality fruits and vegetables from local farms to our clients and partner pantries free-of-charge.
Education & Cooking Classes
- We continue to partner with MSU Extension to sponsor cooking classes within our communities, helping people budget for healthy, nutritious and delicious meals.
- Highlighting basic nutrition with booklets, recipe cards, and other materials printed for our clients.
Healthy Food Pantry
- Procuring, promoting, and distributing healthier options through our food pantry and over 40 partner agencies.
As mentioned in Groundwork’s article “Local Farms, the Key to Healthy Communities” Northern Michigan is one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the United States. Yet, a large proportion of Michigan households face significant barriers to buying this fresh produce and living a healthy life. Michigan is in the top third nationally when it comes to excess weight, with 31 percent of adults and 17 percent of children being obese, and much of our population also suffers from chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The following videos highlight how Manna and other area organizations come together as part of a holistic effort to make our community a better place.