Mobile Market serves up fresh fruits, vegetables in Reading

 

The Helping Harvest food bank took its mobile market to Reading on Wednesday. Volunteers handed out fresh meat, vegetables and more at the 11th and Pike Playground.

"It's good, you know, because we get food stamps, and it's not that much," said customer Yolanda Martinez.

Helping Harvest aims to relieve some of the strain. Last year, the food bank provided folks in need with nearly 175,000 pounds of food.

"We have made a real switch in our focus from more of the staple items to a fresh product," said John Flickinger, vice president of Helping Harvest's board.

For three years now, Helping Harvest has been offering mobile markets. Some of them are year-round, and some, like Wednesday's, are seasonal. When children are out of school for the summer, food bank officials said the need grows.

"When you don't have anything in the house, you just come by," said customer Miriam Pimentel.

If factored the cost of buying all the fresh meat, fruits and veggies at a store, you'd be paying about $50 or more, and some for some, it's a bill they can't afford.

"I pick up my shopping cart and I go, because food is food and it's tight right now," said Martinez.

Organizers said, over the last year, the focus has really shifted toward providing more fresh goods. They say non-perishable items are great, but fresh produce is what many families are looking for..

"Sometimes, you get things you really don't need it, but in here, you pick up what you need," said Pimentel.