INDIANAPOLIS – Bringing healthy food to people in need. That's the goal of Eskenazi Health's New Fresh For You Mobile Market.
It’s something patients who are food insecure say is a need.
"I will be utilizing that bus,"Renae Weatherly a patient at Eskenazi Health said.
Weatherly recently suffered some health issues that have made it hard for her to access the food she needs.
"I lost my license to practice because I was Ill,” Weatherly said. “I couldn't think, couldn't concentrate and I lost my income and from that point on I just went down."
She is now starting to get back on her feet, but admits access to healthy foods can be difficult not only for her, but her family members as well.
"Even if it didn't look like a real grocery store it helps and that's what we need,” Weatherly said.
Eskenazi Health Fresh For You Market on Wheels is the first of its kind according to the hospital. They say it's been years in the making. A creation based on the needs of their patients.
"We actually have a Fresh For You Market on our main campus,” Tiffany Arnold the Project Manager for the market at Eskenazi Health said. “What we found is that people couldn't get to the main campus all the time so the idea was, let's take the groceries to them."
This creation comes at a time when food insecurity continues to climb.
According to theJune Consumer Food Insight Reportfood insecurity hit 17% for the second time in the past year and a half.
Jayson Lusk is an agricultural economist at Purdue university. He says that number means more people are having to wait to buy food they need or aren't buying it at all.
"One of the drivers of food insecurity is most certainly rising food prices,” Lusk said. While it's true that the rate of increase in food prices has come down in recent months they are still increasing. "
That's why the mobile market will allow Eskenazi patients who screen positive for food insecurity to qualify for vouchers.
"The voucher will give them a certain amount of groceries that they can purchase," Arnold said.
The bus will also have staff on it that can help answer questions and help people access resources, like signing up for snap benefits. Something experts say could be a key to bringing food insecurity down.
"SNAP, Food stamp program is certainly what we've used for a long time and I think the evidence is pretty strong that it does reduce rates of food insecurity," Lusk said.
Indygo donated the bus that will house the mobile market. The Fresh for You Market on Wheels is open daily from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the following locations:
- Monday: Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, 3171 N. Meridian St.
- Tuesday: Eskenazi Health Center West 38th Street, 5515 W. 38th St.
- Wednesday: Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor, 3840 N. Sherman Dr.
- Thursday: Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), 8902 E. 38th St.
- Friday: Edna Martin Christian Center, 2605 E. 25th St.