FOOD FOR THE SOUL

MANNA CHAM­PION STEVEN KOR­MAN TALKS ABOUT THE PHILADEL­PHIA NON­PROFIT’S NEW HOME AND MA­JOR PLANS TO FEED MORE THAN TWO MIL­LION PEO­PLE IN 2017.

Philadelphia Style - - Contents - BY KRISTIN DET­TER­LINE

MANNA cham­pion Steven Kor­man talks about the non­profit’s new home and ma­jor plans to feed more than two mil­lion peo­ple.

The first thing you might no­tice while walk­ing through MANNA’S mas­sive new state-of-the-art kitchen is the stick­ers. Rows and rows of neatly pack­aged meals are marked with round dots in a rain­bow of pri­mary col­ors.

This seem­ingly mi­nus­cule de­tail is key to keep­ing the Philadel­phia non­profit run­ning like a well-oiled ma­chine. MANNA, founded in 1990 to pro­vide food for the city’s HIV/AIDS pop­u­la­tion, de­liv­ers healthy meals to those liv­ing with life-threat­en­ing ill­nesses through­out the Delaware Val­ley and may be best known for the hugely pop­u­lar Pie in the Sky pie fundraiser each Thanks­giv­ing.

Some­thing is al­ways cook­ing in this kitchen: In 2016, MANNA de­liv­ered roughly one mil­lion meals to 3,000 clients. That’s three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, all planned by di­eti­cians and pre­pared en­tirely by vol­un­teers. Each meal pack­aged con­tains up to three com­bi­na­tions of col­ored stick­ers to en­sure that driv­ers de­liver the right food to the right clients.

But it’s not just about mak­ing sure food ar­rives in South Philly in­stead of Swarth­more. The stick­ers re­lay crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion about the meals: di­a­betic, low lac­tose, high protein, low fiber, to name a few. It’s an ap­proach MANNA refers to as a phar­macy for your diet. Their “food as medicine” pro­gram has helped peo­ple with 72 dif­fer­ent dis­eases last year and now serves as a model for sim­i­lar or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“MANNA feeds those who are deal­ing with all kinds of ill­nesses, from breast can­cer to colon can­cer and AIDS,” says Steven Kor­man, cochair of MANNA’S ad­vi­sory board and the lead for their cur­rent cap­i­tal cam­paign. “We have all types of menus to fit all dif­fer­ent types of dis­eases.”

It’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to talk about MANNA with­out talk­ing about Kor­man. The Philadel­phia real es­tate de­vel­oper, who founded Kor­man Com­mu­ni­ties, has been cham­pi­oning the non­profit for more than 16 years, fol­low­ing his own brief but dev­as­tat­ing ill­ness.

“A den­tist fi­nally di­ag­nosed me with a rare disease that he hadn’t seen a case of in 30 years,” says Kor­man. “I had a 10-day pe­riod of in­tense pain and I made my deal with God: If I re­cov­ered, then I would give back and help as many peo­ple as I could.” When he was fi­nally well, Kor­man walked right into MANNA (then lo­cated in Rit­ten­house Square), wrote a “very large check,” he says, and never looked back. “Peo­ple liv­ing with AIDS were so brave,” he ex­plains, re­call­ing why he chose MANNA over other lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions. “They didn’t have any re­sources.”

Thanks to an­other very large check,

“MANNA FEEDS THOSE WHO ARE DEAL­ING WITH ALL KINDS OF ILL­NESSES.” — steven kor­man

Kor­man was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind MANNA’S new head­quar­ters at 20th and Hamil­ton Streets. The Art Mu­seum lo­ca­tion totals 23,000 square feet and was de­signed by Spec­tra-con’s Rich Hub­bert and Stanev Potts Ar­chi­tects. Here, more square footage means one thing: more meals. In 2017, MANNA is on track to jump from one mil­lion to 2.5 mil­lion meals a year, serv­ing 2,500 in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies at one time. (MANNA also feeds any de­pen­dent fam­ily mem­bers liv­ing with those who are sick.) More im­por­tantly, the non­profit is on track to take its pro­gram statewide. It’s all part of mak­ing sure that ev­ery­one has ac­cess to food as medicine, says Sue Daugh­erty, CEO of MANNA.

“I be­lieve our new space on the Park­way gives us a stronger pres­ence in the city, which we need,” says Daugh­erty, who has been with the or­ga­ni­za­tion since 1999. “In or­der for MANNA to be able to serve more folks, we need more peo­ple to know about our im­pact on the health sys­tem. We know our model works. Keep­ing peo­ple nour­ished in their homes is sav­ing sig­nif­i­cant health care costs.”

With the new head­quar­ters up and run­ning, Kor­man is al­ready hard at work on his next project. De­tails are still emerg­ing, but Kor­man hopes that by align­ing with like-minded in­di­vid­u­als from other pro­fes­sions—jef­fer­son Health Pres­i­dent and CEO Stephen K. Klasko and Project HOME Pres­i­dent and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Sis­ter Mary Scul­lion among them— that they can col­lec­tively an­swer the most ur­gent ques­tions about how to help peo­ple in need.

“I want to tie this whole thing to­gether,” says Kor­man. “This is my pas­sion. It’s how I plan on spend­ing the rest of my life.” man­napa.org

“WE KNOW OUR MODEL WORKS. KEEP­ING PEO­PLE NOUR­ISHED IN THEIR HOMES IS SAV­ING SIG­NIF­I­CANT HEALTH CARE COSTS.” — sue daugh­erty

A man with a plan: MANNA’S Steven Kor­man in­side the non­profit’s new Art Mu­seum fa­cil­ity.

Above: Team­work makes the dream work: MANNA’S lead­er­ship team Rob Saxon, Sue Daugh­erty, Steven Kor­man, Eric Gantz, and Ann Hoskins- Brown tour the 23,000- square­foot space dur­ing con­struc­tion.

MANNA CEO Sue Daugh­erty and Steven Kor­man cut the cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon at the grand open­ing of MANNA’S new home.

Vol­un­teers pack­ing meals in MANNA’S former kitchen on Ranstead Street.

MANNA is be­hind the widely pop­u­lar Pie in the Sky fundraiser each Thanks­giv­ing. More than 500 vol­un­teers pre­pare meals here for the hol­i­day, com­pared to 125 vol­un­teers the rest of the year.

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