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Mobile markets continue to improve food access for Illinois families

| Illinois

Apr 22, 2022

Summary

Across Illinois, SNAP-Ed assisted in starting and sustaining mobile markets. These mobile markets help ensure that fresh produce is readily available to eligible families.

Challenge

Illinois SNAP-Ed identified areas where additional access to fresh produce would be beneficial. Some families have limited access to fruits and vegetables and their produce intake is lower than recommended. In Granite City, a high rate of unemployment may have played a role in reducing access. In Rushville, SNAP-Ed identified that only having flyers available in English was reducing access to a drive-up pantry for French-speaking immigrants in the area.

mobile food pantry in Illinois boxes of produce on tables

Solution

  • Harvey, Cook County: SNAP-Ed brought together Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and the Family Christian Health Center to create a fresh produce mobile market between May and August 2021. Each month, 75-120 families visited the market and received two to three bags of fresh produce. SNAP-Ed also provided nutrition education materials and recipes to help families use less familiar fresh produce items at home.
  • Granite City, Madison County: SNAP-Ed staff connected Community Care Center to the St. Louis Area Food Bank and Restoration Church. The church was approved to host a monthly mobile market for three months in late 2020. During each date, the mobile market served over 150 families. The church wanted to continue and met with the Foodbank, who approved additional dates. During the mobile markets, SNAP-Ed staff assisted and provided recipes and nutrition education for families focusing on the produce provided.  
  • Rushville, Schuyler County: Central Illinois Foodbank (CIFB) reached out to SNAP-Ed to ask for assistance promoting their drive-up food pantry at the Rushville Library. SNAP-Ed worked on numerous strategies to promote the event. Strategies included: 
    • translating the promotional flyer into French
    • distributing flyers to a local store where many French-speaking in the area shopped
    • ensuring recipients were aware that it was a pick-up that did not require verbal requests due to the language barrier 

     -As a result, CIFB reported seeing multiple French-speaking community members at drive-up event

1st image: An empty display table; 2nd image; An educator works at a display table at an Illinois pantry

Sustaining Success

  • Harvey: Family Community Health Center has applied for a grant to keep the market running in 2022. SNAP-Ed will provide nutrition education and information about upcoming classes to those in attendance.
  • Rushville: SNAP-Ed received funding to increase racial and health equity in Rushville by connecting the French-speaking community with available resources. It will develop tailored interventions to promote access to healthy foods and improved physical activity.