Rising costs are a reason why the food bank’s Mobile Food Market has seen a 127 percent rise in visits over the last year
The Mobile Food Market, which can be seen making its way across Cambridge four days a week, selling fresh food at a discounted price, isn’t short on customers.
Compared to this time in 2022, the market has seen a 127 percent increase in visits.
Providing produce to those in the community who may not otherwise be able to afford it at a traditional grocery store has been a community effort, executive director of the Cambridge Food Bank Dianne McLeod says.
“Those living on a low income are at least able to afford fresh, organic and nutritious food and often can only afford highly processed food that is inexpensive,” McLeod said.
“It currently costs us between $10 and $15 per person, so those who shop at the market and pay over the subsidized rate help offset the lower rate for people who are living on a low income. Some people shop and pay extra which allows us to invest those funds back into the purchase of food.”
Each week the market purchases produce with a concerted effort to shop from local farmers. This not only helps fuel the local economy but is better for the environment.
The role fresh, nutritious food can play in managing chronic health conditions along with overall physical and mental wellness is well documented, but rising costs have made it difficult for many to fit it into their budget.
That’s where the mobile market and support of those who can pay more come into play. Prices at the market can be as low as $5.
The collective effort and generosity of the community ensure the service will be consistently available for those who can’t afford to pay more.
“The goal of the market is not to make money, but to simply cover the costs of running the program so it will be sustainable over the long term,” McLeod said.
“Since we’re not trying to create a profit, we can pass wholesale prices on to market shoppers. The cost of food is rising rapidly and many in our community are struggling to afford fresh food and this is undoubtedly the reason why we’re seeing an increase of shoppers.”
By encouraging a variety of shoppers, McLeod and her team are also hoping to end the stigma that sometimes comes with charitable food programs.
“The Mobile Food Market is a place for everyone to get a great deal on fresh food,” McLeod said.
For more information on the Mobile Food Market and the Cambridge Food Bank visit cambridgefoodbank.org.