After months of preparations, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle opened a new Mobile Market in Johnston County this January to great success. The inaugural market, held January 8th, supplied good food to 607 individuals, from 206 households. That includes the 181 participants who attended in person, and also 25 sick and shut-in locals who received food boxes packed and delivered by Mobile Market volunteers.
“The wait was worth it!” attests IFFS Agency Outreach Coordinator, Elizabeth Keys Rodgers.
So what exactly is a Mobile Market?
Mobile Markets are temporary food markets that provide healthy food to families and seniors in under-served communities free of charge. Mobile Markets are one of the pillars of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s “We Feed” mission.
“Mobile Markets serve the need of the community without putting people in a position to feel marginalized by their situation,” explained IFFS Agency Outreach Support Joann O’Neal. “Quite often other assistance facilities require standing in lines, lots of paperwork, and limited access. The hosts of our Mobile Markets provide the same kind of atmosphere you would find at any neighborhood farmers market, welcoming and friendly.”
The new Johnston County Mobile Market runs from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of each month. It is located at Temple Baptist Church (1250 S. Pollock Street in Selma, N.C.). It will next be open on February 12th and March 12th. Those who need food, can get a number from Temple Baptist Church beginning at 11 a.m. then come back at 2:00 p.m. to ‘shop’ for food in numerical order.
It’s all in the preparation
Establishing a new Mobile Market doesn’t happen overnight. And this new market wouldn’t have happened without leadership from Rachel Ayers from Helping and Healing Hearts of Smithfield.
In the final months of 2014, Rodgers met with over 40 people, including Ayers, members of Temple Baptist Church of Selma, and other residents of Johnston County to prepare for the launch. Trainings covered logistics such as estimating and preparing for the amount of food and number of participants, proper order for distributing food, and most important, being courteous and respectful. The team of volunteers even shadowed Mobile Markets at Martin Street Baptist in Raleigh and The Church of Clayton Crossing of Clayton. The result was a well-run Mobile Market debut.
“It was highly organized,” said Rodgers. “Johnston County volunteers were truly driven to have a successful mobile market.”
The first Johnston County Mobile Market exceeded expectation in several other ways:
- Edward’s IGA Food Liner of Smithfield donated grocery carts so participants didn’t have to carry heavy food bags
- Anran Properties of Smithfield donated volunteer aprons and boxes for the sick and shut-in food box deliveries
- Mobile Market volunteers drove and cleaned the IFFS delivery truck
More about Mobile Markets
IFFS currently hosts 9 monthly Mobile Markets that serve the public in Wake, Durham, Johnston, Nash, & Edgecombe Counties. IFFS opened five new Mobile Markets in 2014, the most recent in Edgecombe County last July.
If you are interested in getting involved with Mobile Markets, contact Elizabeth Rodgers at Outreach@FoodShuttle.org
If you would like to sustain the Mobile Market program, click here.
By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org