Since 2006, Second Harvest’s Mobile Market has increased healthy food access for people in need throughout the Inland Northwest. The Mobile Market is a food pantry on wheels, getting free healthy fresh produce and other groceries directly to hungry people. The temporary farmers’ market style distributions are sponsored and staffed by community organizations and volunteers. Last year, the Mobile Market provided the equivalent of 1.5 million meals throughout the Inland Northwest.
Because of people like you, the Mobile Market provides a meaningful response to the complex problem of hunger. You or your business, church, civic group or other organization can help get free food to your neighbors in need by sponsoring a Mobile Market. Several groups can combine their resources to support a Mobile Market as well. A $2,000 sponsorship brings a large Mobile Market (about 8,000 pounds of free food) to an easily accessible location in a community.
The Mobile Market went from distributing 260,000 pounds of food at 27 events when it was first launched in 2006 to providing 1.8 million pounds of groceries at more than 400 distributions last year. About 180 of those distributions were smaller Mobile Markets at schools, subsidized senior apartments and other locations. Today, healthy food samples, recipe sharing and other nutrition education activities are regularly offered alongside the Mobile Market. Community support and partnerships are needed to grow and sustain this very efficient way to get free food to where it's needed most - particularly in rural and other underserved communities in the region.
A refrigerated truck filled with 8,000 pounds of donated fresh produce and other groceries visits a church parking lot, community center or other location. Volunteers help set up the food on tables to make it easy for people to choose what they need. Within two hours, the free food is distributed to close to 250 families.
Children who do not receive proper nutrition are more likely to struggle in school, suffer from increased health issues and are less likely to finish high school or earn a college degree. The Mobile Market gets healthy food to children and their families at high-need schools. On average, these school distributions help 75 families.
Increasing food access for low-income elderly men and women promotes their health, independence and quality of life. The Mobile Market visits subsidized senior housing, senior centers and other agencies to provide fresh produce and other staples.