“Manny,” a mobile kitchen from Manna Food Center, made its first appearance in Silver Spring over the weekend.
The new program will provide a hands-on cooking classroom and will be used for targeted food distribution in areas with limited access.
Manna has identified 20 census areas in the county that are most at-risk for food insecurity, including East County and Long Branch.
Starting in October, the bus will be a “pop-up pantry” to deliver fresh produce in these communities on certain days. Other days, the bus will be used for cooking classes at elementary schools, subsidized housing complexes and community/senior centers, the organization said in an FAQ.
In addition, groups can request that Manny visit health fairs or other community event using a request from on the Manna website.
Montgomery County Public Schools offered to donate a bus for the program but didn’t have the size and specifications needed. Manna found a bus that was retired this year from Washington County Public Schools.
Manna spent about $100,000 to build out and staff Manny with donations and sponsorships from foundations and organizations. The group still will look for additional funds for continued programming.
Photos by Mike Diegel