They’re back! Mobile Market Mondays at USG, that is.
Last month, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) -- in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank -- restarted the monthly food distribution program that had been on hiatus for over a year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The market, which takes place on the fourth Monday of every month, offers fresh seasonal vegetables and other food items to the community for free.
Since the Fall of 2018, the Mobile Market at USG has served just over 800 families. And while there was a temporary halt on the Mobile Market amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteers still managed to offer bagged supplies to families through September 2020. To ensure that everyone remained safe during the market, USG began offering a contactless drive-through option, which will continue on for future Mobile Markets until further notice.
Free food items are provided by Capital Area Food Bank, and this month, families were provided with two bags of sweet potatoes and corn. Depending on the season and availability of items, supplies include fresh fruits and canned items. According to Obioma Akaigwe, Manager of Auxiliary Services at USG, patrons of the market find it to be beneficial and “a great supplement to their food supplies.” The market also allows families to try different types of foods that they normally would not purchase at the grocery store.
The Mobile Market is open to everyone in the community, with one clear objective: “to [create] more access to healthy food, and to promote wellness and healthy living”, says Akaigwe. Though USG receives a large amount of fresh produce and other products, everything at the market is available on a first-come, first-serve basis — so once the items are distributed, they are not replenished
If there are food items left over after the market ends, they are typically given to the Green Grove Cafe, located on the USG campus, or to local pantries or soup kitchens. However, until the Green Grove Cafe is back up and running, excess food will be sent back to the Capital Area Food Bank for redistribution.
When asked if there is anything else the USG community should know about the Mobile Market, Akaigwe replied that there are “plans for other beneficial services that shoppers can access while visiting the market, such as a pop-up health clinic and more.
Akaigwe also welcomes volunteers to join this effort.
To learn more about the Mobile Market, and how to volunteer, please click here.