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Hands On Hartford‘s mission is to work in partnership with others to strengthen community in Hartford by responding faithfully to people in need through programs that change lives and renew human possibility.

MANNA Food and Neighborhood Services

Our MANNA food programs provide basic needs to thousands of individuals in Hartford each month. Through Community Meals, Community Pantry & Neighborhood Services, and Backpack Nutrition Program, we provide food and other supportive services to those in need.

Community Meals

Our Community Meals program is a day shelter and hot meal program, with all meals plated and served restaurant-style. In addition, resource and referral services, assistance in obtaining benefits, and birth certificates are available. Student nurses provide health screenings twice per week. When items are available, guests also have access to toiletries, reading glasses, socks, and winter accessories.

Community Pantry

Our pantry is a full-service shopping model food pantry, allowing clients to choose food that will suit their families’ needs and tastes, minimizing food waste, and maximizing nutritional value. Groceries include non-perishable staples, along with bread, milk, eggs, fresh produce, and frozen meat. Pre-cut fruit and vegetables are also available, thanks to our Kitchen to Pantry Initiative.  We also offer Halal meat through the pantry, so that we can assist those who keep a Halal diet.

Neighborhood Services

We offer referrals, limited security deposit assistance, training, and employment opportunity assistance, nutrition education, and health screenings. We are also an Operation Fuel bank site when funds are available.

Backpack Nutrition Program

Many kids in Hartford receive free lunch throughout the week at school but struggle to find enough food to eat on the weekends. Through our Backpack Nutrition Program, backpacks containing four meals, drinks, and snacks are distributed to children each Friday during the school year, plus weekly enhancements such as fresh fruit, nutrition resource information, and school supplies. We currently serve over 250 children at 9 local schools in the city.

The Café at Fifty-Five is open Tuesday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00pm, and offers breakfast and lunch menu (inside seating, to-go, or curbside delivery), employment and volunteer opportunities, including for folks with barriers to employment, and a pay-for-a-neighbor program. The Café has been open since October 2016.  Caterers Who Care offers catering on- and off-site seven days a week at competitive prices.  Visit the cafe and catering website at for more information.  Meeting and Conference Room space is available for use by outside groups.  Catering and café income support Hands On Hartford’s direct service programs.

To learn more, to volunteer, or to support these programs, please contact Janet Bermudez, MANNA program manager at 860.706.1528 or