757 Mobile Market aims to combat hunger and food insecurity with farmer's market experience

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Posted at 2:27 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 18:23:49-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Yvonne Goffigan steps aboard a new way to shop.

"Ooh, this is so nice! Like a little mini grocery store in here," she said.

She's getting a first look at a farmer's market on wheels that was unveiled in her Lynnhaven Landing neighborhood.

"I think this should come here once a week," she remarks.

It's called the 757 Mobile Market.

"This is getting healthy food to vulnerable populations, children, seniors, homeless, low-income families," said Ruth Jones Nichols, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

The fleet of four traveling markets will head into Virginia Beach neighborhoods, the St. Paul's area in Norfolk and across Western Tidewater and the Eastern Shore. They are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The farmer's market on wheels travels neighborhood to neighborhood with high rates of food insecurity or food deserts," said Jones Nichols.

She says there was an 18% increase in food insecurity last year from 2019, where the Food Bank doled out 14 million meals. She says in Virginia Beach alone, there are 40,000 residents that are food insecure.

"This means a lot. It will be beneficial to the elderly because so often we are forgotten and pushed aside, and this is a small way to rectify with a little help," said Goffigan, who was the first resident inside the new market.

Related: Community food pantry expands inside Norfolk's MacArthur Center

In addition, one-third of the food on the mobile market is fresh fruits and veggies, which Jones Nichols says will help combat health disparities.

"We will also display screens with recipes for people to follow, nutritional information, as well as eventually cooking classes," she said.

The Food Bank says the colorful coach will hit the road five to six days a week, bringing fresh seasonal food literally out the front door.

"I will definitely be taking advantage of it," said Goffigan.