MANNA (Meals, Assistance, Neighbors, Nurturing, Advocacy)
It’s more than meals.
MANNA provides basic needs to thousands of individuals in Hartford each month. Through our food programs: Community Meals, Community Pantry, Backpack Nutrition Program, and Senior Community Café, we provide meals and groceries to individuals and families in need. While nutritional needs are greatly important, MANNA also strives to serve guests with the utmost of dignity. At each site, we give more than meals and groceries; we treat our guests with the respect they deserve.
Behind the red door of our soup kitchen, Community Meals, lies an important place for those we serve: a place to eat, a place to relax, and a place to socialize with others. Community Meals serves over 500 people per month. This includes homeless individuals and families along with those who are considered to be the “working poor”. Every Monday-Thursday and holiday, each person who walks in receives a full lunch, served to them at their table by a volunteer. In addition, student nurses visit twice per week, providing essential medical checks and advice. When the items are available, guests also have access to toiletries, reading glasses, socks, and winter accessories.
Community Pantry and Assistance & Advocacy
For many clients at our food pantry, being able to shop at a grocery store without concern for money seems far-fetched. However, a recent re-model to our food pantry has helped families realize that dream. Our Community Pantry now utilizes the full choice shopping model. Each family who enters our pantry can grab a cart and walk through aisles, choosing which items fit their families’ needs best.
Because poverty is not just about food, our pantry also has case management services to help these families toward further success by helping them gain to housing, medical care, and utility assistance through referrals. Like at our soup kitchen, student nurses also visit the pantry to provide free medical checks and advice.
Backpack Nutrition Program
As the rest of us enter the weekend looking forward to rest and relaxation – maybe going out to a nice dinner – many children face the anxiety and despair of knowing there will not be enough to eat. Students receiving free and reduced lunch at school during the week often go hungry on the weekend. At our Backpack Nutrition Program, we provide backpacks full of easily-prepared, kid friendly food for the weekend. We now give around 280 backpacks to local students every week during the school year.
Senior Community Café
As the only weekend senior meal program in Hartford, our SCC program is critically important for many elderly and disabled individuals in the city. By providing both home-delivered and congregate meals at two housing complexes, we ensure that seniors get access to meals no matter what their mobility or health allows. For those who partake in our congregate meals, lunch consists of time with volunteers, bingo games, and entertainment. SCC provides seniors with the chance to socialize with others while enjoying recreational activities, in hopes of preventing isolation and loneliness.
Senior Community Café is funded in part with Community Development Block Grant funds allocated to Hands On Hartford, Inc. by the City of Hartford.