NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northampton Community Kitchen, called Manna has been feeding people with food for 35 years, especially during rising inflation by providing meals to put on the table.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the consumer price index rose more than 10% in May, the largest increase since the 1981 period. As consumers face high costs for food, they can find solutions such as going to their local food bank or community kitchen to get by. 22News spoke with Manna Board Chair Kate Cardoso to hear her thoughts on food insecurity and how Manna is helping.
“Food insecurity can be different, it’s a lack of food, but it’s also a lack of healthy foods, so I think we’re doing a great job, not just providing food, but providing beautiful, wonderful, nutritious food,” Cardoso said.
The Manna Community Kitchen serves 1,200 meals a week to the Northampton community to help tackle food insecurity.
“However, we anticipate that we will serve more meals, as it becomes more and more difficult for people to be able to afford gas, food, practically anything,” Cardoso added.
Treasurer of the Board of Directors and Chef of Manna for 7 years, Lee Anderson shares how he will sometimes get inspiring ideas for meals from guests and volunteers, and how his recipes are never the same.
“We actually try to have all of our meals have a different flavor, so it’s not boring for guests for those who come here every day,” Anderson said.
Manna volunteers help with food preparation, packaging, door-to-door meal service, delivery and cleanup.
Community members can find food served six days a week at their two locations in Northampton, St. John’s Church at 48 Elm St or Edward’s Church at 297 Main St. Meals served are prepared and cooked in four hours. window the day of for everyone to enjoy. However, Manna is no longer a sit-down restaurant during this time.
For customers confined to their homes, approximately 300 of the 1,200 meals are delivered to them. The U.S. Census Household Survey indicates that in March, the percentage of households with children facing food insecurity rose to 21%. Development Director Kaitlyn Ferrari shared what it’s like to see someone’s face light up when delivering food to someone’s household.
“It makes us feel so good, and having that connection and knowing that they’re really enjoying the food because it’s healthy, it’s one less thing they have to worry about, that interaction has no price,” Ferrari said.
The latest report from the Greater Boston Food Bank found that 1.8 million people are food insecure. Manna Board Chair Kate Cardoso explained how she hopes to see food insecurity decrease over time, but until then she hopes it will become stigmatized. “I think the more people talk about it, the more people are able to be open to struggling to support themselves, and the easier it will be for them to access available services,” Cardoso said.
Manna meal times
Monday Tuesday Thursday
St. John’s Church: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
St. John’s Church: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
Edwards Church: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.