By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Food as medicine is like drugs to treat various conditions. And a non-profit organization is bringing the cure right to your doorstep.

The nutrition program, MANNA, delivers healthy meals to sick people. Research shows it can keep people out of hospitals and lower health care costs, and it’s now being considered as a national model.

The MANNA kitchen, staffed with an army of volunteers makes 90 thousand meals a month.

Meals that Bill Masterson says are keeping him alive.

A heart attack left the 65 year old with kidney failure and circulation problems that led to the amputation of several fingers.

For those like Masterson,

“If you’re bed ridden like I was for the better part of over a year this is extremely convenient.”

MANNA, which stands for Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, was originally founded to feed people with HIV/aids.

“We changed from helping people die to helping people live. And we revamped the entire menu cycle and really put the science into our menu,” said Sue Daugherty, the head of MANNA.

And luckily they now deliver food to people battling life threatening illnesses.

“We are really all about food as medicine,” she said. “You know, you go to the pharmacy you get your medication, you go someplace to get your chemo, radiation, your dialysis and there is no place to go to get the prescription for your diet filled and we truly see MANNA as the pharmacy for your prescription diet. We are here to fill that diet.”

Bill says the MANNA meals have helped him stay on a strict low salt diet, which is keeping him off dialysis so he’s able to enjoy time with his family, traveling and the Phillies.

“I wouldn’t have known what I could have, what I couldn’t have, without MANNA. They came to the rescue and brought the food in that my doctor has told me you need to stay within the parameters of what you’re allowed to have.”

MANNA is currently serving over 950 households in the Philadelphia and the South Jersey region. The insurance company ‘Health Partners’ is now reimbursing MANNA to provide nutritious meals to some patients.

But MANNA depends on contributions. It doesn’t charge patients for the food.

Stephanie Stahl