Mobile Market treads on Hunger

On a picturesque spring day in Knightstown, we launched the new, long-awaited Mobile Market. People walked or drove up and went through the line to select fresh vegetables, various dairy products, canned foods, frozen pork and peaches, and more.

The Mobile Market is an innovation in addressing hunger, especially rural hunger. There are many communities without a convenience store, and without any large parking areas where a semi couldn’t fit. People in Knightstown are used to driving nearly an hour round-trip for groceries, which is unfeasible for people without reliable transportation. That’s where the Mobile Market fits in – it can pop up in smaller parking lots and accommodate the needs of smaller communities.

The Market offers a free choice, primarily of produce and frozen proteins. “Everyone’s been asking if we’ll have protein, so having those freezers was essential!” says Mack, Mobile Market Coordinator. Free choice is important for hunger relief, as it restores dignity to the people we serve, and reduces the risk of food waste from people simply throwing out food they can’t, or won’t, eat.

We are also coordinating the market to distribute in the evenings and on Saturdays. The vast majority of pantries are only open during standard business hours, meaning many working families simply can’t access them, especially those oriented around a school schedule.

If accessing basic survival needs takes a greater slice of time for people facing systemic barriers, accessing wraparound services to move towards a place of resource stability is even more challenging. Places where the Mobile Market pops up will also be a hub for resources, such as SNAP registration assistance and other wraparound services. “Bringing the good stuff together can help people actually access it,” Mack explains.

As a new program, there were some aspects we needed to figure out on the fly – where is the best place for a sign in table, how best to arrange the food in the coolers, etc. Luckily, the volunteers from the Cary Center in Knightstown cheerfully worked through them with us, making the event go smoothly, everyone served within the first half hour. We’re looking forward to making this a well-oiled machine thanks to all the community partners who are enthusiastic about this new program. If you would like to be one of those community partners, please email Mack Kemp, Mobile Market Coordinator.

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