CEO Sue Daugherty on How MANNA Impacts the Community and Recognizing Food as Medicine

Philadelphia Style Staff | February 21, 2018 | People

Thanks to Sue Daugherty and her team of staff and committed volunteers, MANNA produces 1.2 million home-delivered meals a year for some of the sickest and most vulnerable people in our community.


Sue Daugherty and Steven Korman cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of MANNA’s new Art Museum home.

What’s the ultimate goal of MANNA?
For everyone to have access to food as medicine for their prescribed diet. By nourishing nutritionally compromised people who are battling life-threatening illnesses, we improve our clients’ health and increase the quality and stability of their lives as they battle their illness. Oftentimes, what we do at MANNA is categorized as ‘doing good’ or providing a ‘nice’ service for our clients. In reality, we are an organization with an evidencebased medical model, and MANNA is committed to advocating for the well-being of our neighbors when they need it most.

Why is giving back to the community so important?
If we don’t take care of each other, who will? MANNA serves some of the most vulnerable people in our community and can make their lives better and improve their health through nourishment. We have to continue to advocate on their behalf, and we will not stop until everyone has access to a prescription diet. We have seen through MANNA’s impact locally the beginning of national change in recognizing ‘food is medicine.’

What’s the benefit of ‘food is medicine’?
MANNA’s evidence-based nutrition intervention has demonstrated improved health, decreased stress, increased food intake, increased nutritional literacy and reduced medical costs for our clients and insurance companies.

How do you think MANNA is making a difference?
I believe MANNA is changing the landscape of healthcare. Our advocacy around access to ‘food is medicine’ and our proven model is getting traction. The MANNA model combines medical nutrition therapy with medically appropriate home-delivered meals to support better health outcomes and significantly reduce costs for the healthcare system by keeping patients in their homes rather than in hospitals or nursing homes. But it’s more than costs—food is a basic need. When MANNA provides meals, we help free the patient to focus on the task of getting better.