A Ribbon-cutting and introduction of the Makin' Groceries Mobile Market was held at Second Harvest Food Bank in Lafayette on Friday.
Humana and the company’s philanthropic arm, The Humana Foundation, have committed more than $750,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank for the Makin’ Groceries Mobile Market, which will deploy to four locations around the Greater Lafayette Area every week. The market will sell nutritious food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, at very affordable prices in at-risk communities.
“We call these neighborhoods ‘food deserts,’” said Mobile Market Manager Kristen Wesley. “Residents and working families often only have corner gas station markets and fast-food sites to choose from. So, we’re bringing the grocery store to them every week.”
Food deserts are not unique to South Louisiana, and this local initiative is designed to replicate the positive nationwide results that Feeding America, whose network of food banks includes Second Harvest, has had with mobile grocery stores.
Wesley said, “It helps our communities in so many ways. As much as possible, we source the produce and other offerings directly from local farmers and food producers. So, as we are helping to expand grocery options for so many, the program will also offer vital support to local farms as well.”
“We want the communities we serve to know that we care about their health as well, and we will also offer cooking demonstrations and education about nutrition,” added Wesley. “The Makin’ Groceries Mobile Market is about meeting people where they are, bringing resources directly into local communities.”
The Mobile Market team can accept EBT/SNAP benefits (food stamps,) as well as credit/debit cards. Team members will also help residents stretch their dollars even further by connecting them with other Second Harvest resources in the area.
Humana and The Humana Foundation have supported the Second Harvest Food Bank for more than a decade, providing nearly 634,000 meals across South Louisiana. In the past three years alone, Humana employees in Louisiana have provided more than 500 hours of volunteer time to sort food and work in Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to help feed neighbors in need.
“Our work with Second Harvest is part of Humana’s Bold Goal to help improve population health by addressing the social determinants of health, which are nonmedical risk factors, such as life circumstances and environments, that can affect a person’s health and well-being,” said Humana Louisiana Medicare President Matt Berger. “We are grateful for this opportunity to again work together with Second Harvest to help improve health outcomes in Lafayette.”
“Humana has historically had a strong commitment to our many community partners in the state of Louisiana,” said Humana Medicaid Regional President Tony Mollica. “The Makin’ Groceries Mobile Market initiative builds upon our longtime relationship with Second Harvest, and we look forward to working together in Lafayette to help address population health needs by providing an accessible, affordable option to fresh, nutritious food.”
“The Humana Foundation is proud to be a partner in bringing access to healthy, affordable produce to rural parishes in the Acadiana region,” said The Humana Foundation Director of Strategy Advancement Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor. “Food security is integral to whole person health, and we know that these mobile markets will make a meaningful impact on the health of the communities they serve.”
“There are no shortcuts to solving hunger, and this is a long-term project for us,” according to Second Harvest Regional Director Paul Scelfo. “Across Acadiana, 1 in 5 families is at risk of hunger, and 1 in 3 children live in poverty. So many hard-working families find themselves traveling many miles just to get to a decent grocery store, something most of us take for granted. And it’s even harder for seniors with limited mobility or no transportation options,” added Scelfo.
The Makin’ Groceries Mobile Market will rotate between locations four days every week:
9am- Fightingville Fresh | 315 West Simcoe St., Lafayette, LA
1 pm- Martin Luther King, Jr. Center | 309 Cora St., Lafayette, LA
9am- Macon Street Development | 300 Macon Rd., Lafayette, LA
1 pm- Irene Street Development | 1101 Irene St., Lafayette, LA
9am- Martin Luther King, Jr. Center | 309 Cora St., Lafayette, LA
9am- C.O. Circle Development | 115 Kattie Dr., Lafayette, LA
1 pm- True Vine Ministries | 1555 West Willow St., Scott, LA
To learn more, please visit https://no-hunger.org/mobilemarket/.
“There are no income or paperwork requirements for people to shop the low-priced offerings at the Market,” said Wesley.
“We continue to support hundreds of local food pantries in community centers, churches, and other partners which offer food assistance at no cost. Our Mobile Market program will add options for those residents who are lacking one of the simplest conveniences in life: Shopping for groceries close to home from a market and people they trust.”
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