#1: A man in his 30s visited our Mobile Pantry because he had just paid his rent and had very little left to spare for food purchases. He had been in a car accident in which he was the passenger. He had been hospitalized and unable to work at his current job. The driver of the vehicle had no car insurance nor did the person who was responsible for the accident. He also disclosed that he had no medical insurance. He would not have the funds for groceries for several weeks and his medical bills that were piling up. He was hoping to go back to work within the next few weeks. Because the Mobile Pantry was available in Champaign County, this young man was able to secure meats, cereals, pasta, beans, peanut butter and fresh produce that would last him for weeks while he recovered from his accident.
#2: Second Harvest Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry Program provides a vital service to our clients. It may be the middle of winter, but we still have large numbers of clients waiting in the cold to receive food. When our clients are forced to choose between paying that gas bill and getting groceries, we provide an alternative that allows them to be warm and fed. We hold mobiles at sites located near senior housing, and this provides easy access to food from those with limited mobility and lack of transportation. We also travel to rural areas that don’t have food pantries. At these sites, people depend on us because their only other option is in the next town over.
Without restrictions on how often clients can use the mobile pantry service, we provide emergency assistance to those who need it the most. We may see someone several times in one month because they recently lost their job, have taken custody of grandchildren, or have had to combine households. One of our clients, an elderly woman from Urbana, would like to get a job, but is having trouble finding one and needs to attend mobiles to make ends meet.
Second Harvest’s clients are the some of the most caring and helpful people in our community. Often clients carpool to mobiles, bringing neighbors, family, and friends who would otherwise miss out. Even as they use our service to make sure they have enough food to survive, they’re thinking of others who are also in need. They grab extra calendars to distribute to friends, call neighbors to remind them to come, and offer to volunteer with us! The community they have created around the mobile pantry helps to take away stigma, get food to those who don’t know about our services, and make the mobile pantries a more enjoyable experience for everyone.