Philadelphia nonprofit MANNA in need of volunteers amid COVID-19 crisis

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- MANNA is still operating despite COVID-19, however, the organization is looking for volunteers after a steep drop.

"One opportunity that we do have is the need for volunteer drivers," said MANNA CEO Sue Daughtery. "We'll give you a delivery route and we're doing no-touch deliveries. So, we're calling all of our clients ahead of time, making sure clients are home and leaving the delivery at the doorstep."

MANNA volunteers cook and deliver medically appropriate meals to individuals battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer, renal disease and HIV/AIDS.

The organization serves about 1,400 clients, free of charge, throughout the Philadelphia region and Southern New Jersey.

"They're the folks that are home right now," said Daughtery. "They lack financial resources, they don't have a support system and MANNA often is their only support system for getting nourishment. So, during the COVID crisis, (this) is certainly a scary time for all of us...I can imagine their fear level has heightened."

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Daughtery said the organization has changed hours of operation, reduced the numbers of volunteers in the kitchen and has moved to no-touch delivery.

MANNA is looking for an additional 30 volunteers a day in the kitchen and driving.

"I'm concerned about it because there are clients who depend upon the meals, they're going to have to get the meals prepared and out to the people somehow," said MANNA volunteer Gail Lopez-Henriquez.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance to Pennsylvanians, recommending they turn to food banks or food pantries if they are at risk of hunger due to the spread of COVID-19.

"During this time of major precautions to reduce risks of spreading COVID-19, those out of work, those who rely on college meal plans, school meals to feed their children, and those who are isolated, may not know where to turn for food," said Secretary Redding. "No Pennsylvanian should go hungry, even in these extraordinary times."
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