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WNC Business

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and MANNA FoodBank celebrate 40th anniversary

Sep 18, 2023 11:40AM ● By WNC Business
ASHEVILLE – In celebration of their respective 40 year anniversaries, and in a nod to the importance of volunteer support at each organization, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and MANNA FoodBank are spending a day in each other’s shoes, so to speak. On Friday, September 22, leadership staff and board members from each organization will do service at the other: MANNA helping to build homes and operate a retail store, and Asheville Habitat participating in the warehouse operation devoted to taking care of those in our community facing food insecurity. 

A cohort of 10 volunteers who serve weekly with both organizations are also participating in
the special day of service and then being honored for their deep devotion to service during a
happy hour event. These dual-agency core volunteers are: Peter Anuzis, Kevin Click, Jan
Cosman, Roger Gauthier, Jim Hester, Tim Kruse, Bill Reid, Evan Rosenberg, Richard
Spoering, and Garland Walker.

Asheville Habitat has built nearly 400 homes and repaired more than 500 houses since its
inception in 1983. The organization has adapted its programs over the years to grow capacity
and better respond to the changing housing needs in our community. In 1990, a ReStore
selling donated housewares, furniture, and building supplies created a new sustainable
revenue stream to help fund Habitat’s building programs. In 2009, a Home Repair program
came online to help existing low-income homeowners afford much-needed repairs and
enable them to remain in the homes. Two-story townhomes were added in 2018 to the
product mix to serve more families, and single-level townhomes featuring Universal Design
elements allow those age 55+ to “age in place”.

“I’m grateful that forty years ago this community envisioned local solutions to ensure our
neighbors’ rights to food and shelter. Today we can build the kind of community we all want
to be a part of on the foundation they laid,” remarked Andy Barnett, Chief Executive Officer of
Asheville Habitat.

MANNA and their extensive partner network have distributed more than 300 million pounds of
food since 1983 across their 16 county service area, including the Qualla Boundary. That
equates to a staggering 250 million meals provided to people in our region over the last four
decades. The organization has grown exponentially, striving to meet the steadily growing
need for food for thousands of families working hard every day to make ends meet. The
addition of their 1-800 Food Helpline in 2012 has helped thousands of residents locate food
pantries and connect with resources including the SNAP program. Mobile markets bring
healthy food to people, and education about and access to nutritious foods, particularly in
marginalized communities, is a key focus today.

Both organizations attribute their longevity and success to the region’s supportive community.
MANNA involves, educates, and unites people in the work of ending hunger, and Habitat
brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Engagement opportunities
like those offered by both organizations are attractive to people who want to be part of the
solution, and there is overlap between the non-profits’ volunteers, donors, and advocates.
Jan Cosman, a core volunteer and supporter of both Habitat and MANNA notes, “Housing
and food are two of the most important basic human needs. These two organizations work
incredibly hard to ensure residents have shelter and sustenance, and I am proud to be
involved with them.”

“We’re proud to be in community with Asheville Habitat, the incredible volunteers who donate
their time to address these basic human needs, and all those who provide food and housing
for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Dr. Claire Neal, CEO for MANNA FoodBank. “This
compassionate community is making life-changing differences every day, and together we
can and will create a better WNC for us all.”

About Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity:
Founded in 1983, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity was the first Habitat affiliate in North Carolina. Now serving Buncombe and Madison Counties, AAHH provides affordable homeownership and home repair programs to qualified low-income residents seeking to build a better future on the foundation of stable housing. The home repair program preserves the character, affordability, and diversity of local neighborhoods and enables long-time residents to stay in their homes. Learn more about Asheville Area Habitat and how you can get involved at 

About MANNA Food Bank:
MANNA FoodBank, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is a private, not-for-profit service organization working to end food insecurity in the 16 counties of Western North Carolina, including the Qualla Boundary. MANNA links the food industry to over 200 partner pantries and other human service organizations to get food to thousands of families’ tables. They are a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. Together we can solve hunger. Learn more about MANNA FoodBank and how you can get involved at

Source: Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity