The Westmoreland Food Bank reveals its latest approach to ending hunger within the county, with a one of a kind Mobile Market vehicle. Thanks to generous grant funding, the Westmoreland Food Bank cut the ribbon on a one of a kind refrigerated truck, with abilities to distribute food directly from the truck to people in areas with high food insecurity rates.
In Westmoreland County, as throughout the nation, those most likely to experience food insecurity are minorities, seniors, families that live in isolated rural communities, and residents with disabilities. In response to these significant systemic shortcomings, the Food Bank sought solutions and piloted the Mobile Market program in 2022 using an existing refrigerated van. With evidenced demand for the program, the organization sought grant funding to expand its services with a vehicle specifically designed for this program.
Jennifer Miller, CEO said “Our Mobile Market is similar to farmer’s markets and can serve various communities on a scheduled or rotating basis. However, given its ability to change locations at a moment’s notice, the mobile market can also serve multiple communities in a short span of time. Mobile Markets have gained popularity particularly in rural communities where access to healthy food is limited and residents must travel long distances to access grocery stores that sell fresh food.”
This program, centered around a custom-built mobile food market truck, carries fresh produce and other staples to areas identified as high-need, areas in which transportation is difficult because of infrastructure shortfalls or because individuals cannot access it, and areas of high population density. The truck will travel to low-income housing, senior high rises, senior centers, college campuses and many other locations where those in need of food can be found.
The truck is custom, the first of its kind, and equipped with a 6-door cooler system that is powered by a refrigeration unit. Program staff offer neighbors their choice of products on the truck—providing a similar experience to a farmer’s market.
“This $100,000 grant for a mobile market truck will allow the Food Bank to bring a full-service market to under-served areas of Westmoreland County and introduce the community to Food Bank services in a new way,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward. “The Westmoreland County Food Bank and its partners are committed to helping to ensure our residents are properly fed, the bellies of our children are full, and our seniors and underserved communities have access to quality and nutrient rich foods.”
The Mobile Market truck will begin visiting Westmoreland County communities and locations with high need in mid-September.