Mobile Miracle Market to start rolling Sept. 15

After bringing Chatham-Kent together to collect approximately 678,200 pounds of food for those in need earlier this year, members of the May 16th Miracle team have worked with local organizations to bring fresh produce out to different communities.

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After bringing Chatham-Kent together to collect approximately 678,200 pounds of food for those in need earlier this year, members of the May 16th Miracle team have worked with local organizations to bring fresh produce out to different communities.

The Chatham-Kent Prosperity Roundtable will be launching the Mobile Miracle Market Sept. 15 in partnership with Chatham-Kent public health, TekSavvy Solutions Inc. and the Wheatley Area Food Bank.

“We saw the tremendous success that the May 16 Miracle had in this community,” said Phillip Mock, project co-ordinator with the prosperity roundtable. “We saw our community coming together like never before and it really inspired us to keep the miracle going.”

The mobile market will travel to various communities in Chatham-Kent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Anyone who is need of fresh produce can pick up a box of produce for free.

Mock said they plan to initially roll it out to four or five communities, so they can address any issues which may come up. The team will then add new locations each week until they are reaching all of the areas in their plan.

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The full list of communities includes Bothwell, Thamesville, Highgate, Ridgetown, Blenheim, Merlin, Wheatley, Tilbury, Chatham, Pain Court, Wallaceburg and Dresden.

However, Mock said they may expand it to places like Shrewsbury or Erieau later on.

According to Mock, healthy food prices in Chatham-Kent have risen 10.6 per cent over the past five years while the COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater financial strain on some people.

“When people are financially struggling, we know that healthy foods are the first things to go,” said Mock, adding some communities don’t have immediate access to a grocery store.

Mock said much of the produce will come from Evans Wholesale and the local producers it works with.

“Our hope is that we get to build relationships with local growers and our greenhouse operators to really pull in more donations so we don’t have to purchase,” he said. “We can actually rely more on community donations of fresh produce to keep this miracle market going.”

Financial donations are also being accepted.

The Miracle Market team also hopes to continue the program throughout the winter by working with greenhouses and wholesalers, Mock said.

The project is also using public health’s gleaning program. They are looking for volunteer harvesters to visit farms and collect produce for the market.

Dava Robichaud, events co-ordinator with TekSavvy and one of the organizers of the May 16th Miracle, said after collecting non-perishables in May, perishables were the next step as farmers start to harvest crops.

“We just knew that there was going to be a progression, that there needed to be a progression, and Chatham-Kent showed that we can come together as a community and help where help was needed,” she said.

“It only made sense to go with the produce around harvest. We feed the world. We need to feed our community.”

Updates on locations and pickup times – as well as ways to volunteer and donate – will be available at www.mobilemiraclemarket.com.

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