JOINING THE TEAM: Hannah Randall (left) joins Gary Landwirth (center), MANNA’s CEO transition consultant, and Cindy Threlkeld (right), MANNA’s recently retired executive director, at the May 1 dedication ceremony for the successful completion of the Space to Erase Hunger building project. The building project was a major initiative under Threlkeld’s tenure at MANNA, and sets the stage for Randall to further the food bank’s work to end hunger in Western North Carolina.

MANNA FoodBank introduces a new CEO

On May 2, MANNA FoodBank welcomed Hannah Randall as its new CEO. Randall joins the organization after having served in a variety of roles with other nonprofits, including the Animal Protection Society of Person County, Carolina Cross Connection and the Lincoln County United Way. “Her commitment to the wellbeing of the greater community is obvious in everything she does, […]

DINNER'S DONE: In partnership with Whole Foods across the Southeast, Smiling Hara Tempeh is releasing precooked, preseasoned products that cut down on meal prep time.

Small bites: Smiling Hara Tempeh’s multifacet­ed expansion

Smiling Hara Tempeh is bolstering its partnership with Whole Foods with the release of a new heat-and-eat product line in addition to opening a new factory; winter farmers markets are kicking off in Western North Carolina; MANNA FoodBank warehouse is sporting a new roof, thanks to several local businesses; and PennyCup Coffee Co. has a new downtown store.

FOOD SECURITY FOR ALL: As  the demand for food assistance in WNC continues to grow, local food-security organizations are embracing September, designated national Hunger Action Month, as a chance to raise awareness about the issue.  Here, volunteers and staff at MANNA FoodBank raise orange spoons — the symbol of the Hunger Action Month initiative.

Gather around the table: WNC rallies for Hunger Action Month

With one in six people in Western North Carolina lacking consistent access to food, MANNA FoodBank and its partner agencies are uniting to host hunger-awareness events and initiatives in September for national Hunger Action Month. MANNA also hopes to wrap up its Space to Erase Hunger capital campaign this month, allowing for crucial expansions to the organization’s capacity that will impact hungry families in 16 counties.

Gather Together: The Haywood County Gleaners gather excess produce from local growers to donate to food security efforts. But the group realized much of their effort was going to waste and looked for ways to preserve more of the bounty.

Preserving food security: Canning foods for donation

For many of us, when we think of preserved foods, we picture our grandparents carefully canning tomatoes from their garden, or the menu at a trendy restaurant featuring sauerkraut or pickled quail eggs. But imagine what food preservation means to someone experiencing food insecurity or to a donation grower faced with excess produce rotting in the field, and the image becomes something quite different.

Image courtesy of Asheville Wing War

Asheville Wing War approaches its fourth year of competitio­n

So far, confirmed warriors include Mojo Taco Lounge, Luella’s Bar-B-Que, Haywood Lounge, the Social, Foggy Mountain Brewpub, Scully’s Bar and Grill, King James Public House, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Creekside Taphouse and the Barleycorn. A few additional competitor slots remain, and three of the listed participants — Barleycorn, Moe’s and Creekside — are in the game to defend a title.

BRIDGE BUILDERS: MANNA FoodBank Executive Director Cindy Threlkeld, left, and Volunteer Coordinator Max Gruber, right, are working to alleviate food insecurity in WNC. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

The widening gap

Newly released data pulled from Feeding America’s 2012 Map the Meal Gap study shows a 2 percent increase in food insecurity in Western North Carolina. In that year, the study found, 15.3 percent of the region’s people lacked consistent access to enough food to meet their nutritional needs, up from 14.9 percent in 2011.