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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

By Jenna Stelmok, Arden Professional Apprentice

Love the taste of homemade pies on Thanksgiving but hate the fuss of making them? Know other people who do? Buying a pie from MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) is a perfect way to save time preparing for your holidays, while providing two days’ worth of meals to someone in our community!

For those who don’t know, MANNA is a wonderful local non-profit organization that provides nourishing meals, counseling, and support to people in our community at acute nutritional risk from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. MANNA was founded in 1990 by seven members of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia to comfort men dying of AIDS. Since then, their mission has expanded to serve any individuals who are currently battling or in care for a life-threatening illness and are at severe nutritional risk due to this sickness.

Every day, full weeks’ worth of meals are cooked in MANNA’s kitchen by over 1,500 volunteers, frozen, and delivered to families in need. Additionally, through what is known as Medical Nutrition Therapy, MANNA provides nutrition counseling free of charge to those with life-threatening illnesses. Dieticians work individually with their clients, creating sensible food plans to help them stay as healthy as possible. In truth, MANNA cares for the entire person.

Arden Theatre Company is a strong supporter of MANNA and its mission. We began the celebration of our 25th Anniversary Season with a Pay What You Can performance of our first show, Next to Normal, from which all ticket proceeds went directly to the non-profit. With the help of almost 200 patrons, we raised over $600 for MANNA. (We’ve partnered with MANNA for three other Pay What You Can performances in recent years, raising nearly $4,000 additional for their work.)

Now, I’m thrilled to share with you our next goal for the season: selling pies! Every Thanksgiving, MANNA hosts a fundraiser called Pie in the Sky, through which it offers five types of traditional holiday pies for purchase, such as the Holiday Pumpkin Pie and Traditional Apple Pie. All proceeds from the pies go directly to caring for those with acute life-threatening illnesses.

The Arden has been participating as a pie-selling team for the last several years. In 2012, we sold 17 pies and raised $450 for MANNA. This year, through the organization of our 20th Arden Professional Apprentice class, we hope to raise our goals and sell DOUBLE what we sold last year – that’s 34 pies and $900! Currently, we’ve sold 31 pies and are SO CLOSE to our goal!

We ask you to join our support of this fantastic non-profit by purchasing a MANNA pie for your Thanksgiving table, or donating one to a family in need, through the Arden Theatre Company’s pie-selling team. It’s incredibly easy – just CLICK HERE to buy, and make sure you find our Pie Time (Arden Theatre Company) when you’re ordering!! TheArden will also be serving as a pie pick-up location, so you can visit us and get your pie at the same time! Please share our goal with family and friends and encourage them to buy, too. And remember – supporting MANNA means you can enjoy your pie guilt-free this year! Happy Holidays!

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