MANNA: Medically Tailored Meal Spotlight

by Editorial Staff

What they do: Started in 1990 by seven Philadelphians wanting to support their neighbors diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, MANNA has thirty years of experience providing nourishment to critically ill individuals. As knowledge about utilizing food as medicine developed, the program has evolved to include medically-tailored meals created in MANNA’s in-house kitchen as well as professional nutrition counseling. In 2006, recognizing  the widespread need for these services, MANNA expanded its focus from serving HIV/AIDS patients to supporting individuals at nutritional risk due to any critical illness. With donor support, MANNA founded The MANNA Institute in 2019 to research the impact of nutrition on serious illness and establish best practices for the use of food as medicine.

How they do it: Each year, more than 9,400 volunteers assist MANNA’s kitchen staff in preparing nutrient-rich meals for individuals battling life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, renal disease, and HIV/AIDS in the Greater Philadelphia area. Clients receive 21 medically-tailored meals per week created in accordance with guidelines set by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and other nutrition experts. In addition to receiving meals, clients are able to  receive free individual and group nutrition counseling to learn how to make healthier food choices on their own. 

To further the integration of food as medicine into healthcare MANNA partners with their region’s top Medicaid insurers, including Aetna Better Health, Health Partners Plans, and Keystone First.

Mission: MANNA works to improve health for people with serious illnesses who need nourishment to heal. By providing medically-tailored meals and nutrition education, the organization empowers people to improve their health and quality of life.

Major Funding: Donations from corporations, foundations, and individuals such as NRG Energy, John Alchin, Kevin R. Boyle, Dr. Lynn Garvin Dever, Julia Fleischner, Steven H. Korman, Linda Richardson Korman, and Allan Schimmel 

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $5.1 million

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: A study published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health in 2013 found that patients receiving MANNA’s meals and nutritional support accrued 31 percent lower monthly healthcare costs and experienced fewer hospitalizations as compared to patients not receiving MANNA’s services.


Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance
420 N 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Number of staff: 53

Number of volunteers: More than 7,300

Areas served: Philadelphia, PA and Southern New Jersey

Year Started: 1990

CEO: Sue Daughtery 

Contact Information:

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