Hoping to provide the community with low cost produce to fight hunger in the Southern Tier, the Mobile Grocery Store will bring neighborhoods that lack a full-service grocery store like the Northside of Binghamton an option for a healthier lifestyle.
"Our biggest goal at United Way is to make sure families, youth and seniors have access to healthy foods," said Robin Alpaugh, Executive Director of United Way of Broome County.
Currently, the CHOW produce van visits rural areas like Harpursville, Deposit and Windsor every Tuesday, but beginning June 30 the new mobile grocery bus will begin to follow the same path. Folks can shop the bus's selection of foods and pay with cash, credit or any form of payment.
"The pricing is between $1- $3 range. We're not looking to make millions off of this. We want to try to keep our prices less than a dollar," said Jack Seman, CHOW Director.
With the mobile grocery bus's premise of helping the community afford food, as well as provide those without a personal vehicle an alternative to grocery stores, CHOW and it's partners are working toward a healthier future.
"Whether it's taking a bus and bringing food to people who have transportation issues or where there is a shortage of access to these foods...we collectively address many of the food access and hunger issues that exist in Binghamton and the Southern Tier," said Mayor Rich David.
But although Broome County supported the mobility of a food pantry service, the bus needed funding to begin traveling on the road. Coming up well short of their goal, two local credit unions, Visions and Horizons, put aside their competitive rivalry to cooperatively donate almost 50% of the necessary funds. Getting the mobile grocery bus...moving.
"Credit Unions were founded on the principles of people helping people. We understood they were short, they didn't have the funds to complete their project. We thought this was something we needed to help with," said Mario DiFulvio, CEO of Horizons Federal Credit Union.
From a grocery shuttle service offered to the food desert area in the Northside of Binghamton to a mobile grocery store, Broome County is offering its citizens a chance to jump on the "grocery bus" and get their produce needs.