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Partners increase access to fresh, healthy and affordable food options

Partners increase access to fresh, healthy and affordable food options

The Mobile Market will start traveling to pre-determined locations in the community starting two days a week to reach individuals and families who need it. Find the Mobile Market schedule at carle.org/mobilehealth and at fourosprey.org/cu-farm.

A recent Feeding America 2020 COVID study estimates 15.7% of people in Champaign County currently have food insecurity.

“Food insecurity can severely affect a person’s health – physical, mental and emotional. When a person’s basic needs are met, they can focus on other important aspects of their life, such as education and health,” Julianna Sellett, vice president Carle Community Health Initiatives said. 

For now, the Mobile Market will partner with established brick and mortar sites in the community alongside the Carle Mobile Health Clinic.  This additional service enhances a strong support system for those in neighborhoods who face challenges getting access to food, healthcare and other supportive services. 

Rebecca McBride, founder and CEO of CU City Farms, said the Mobile Market is a powerful first step in CU City Farm’s longterm goal of creating a local food system and serving as a catalyst for workforce development, employment, and education while increasing access to fresh, local and nutritious food in underserved communities. 

“Working with our urban farming partners, including Sola Gratia Farm and Prosperity Gardens, we’ll staff the market and distribute much needed produce on a regular basis while developing and deepening relationships with individuals to learn more about their needs in terms of food, nonperishable items and job interests related to the food industry. This is a very exciting beginning for us, and I am deeply grateful to Carle and all the CU City Farms partners who have come forward to help make this a reality,” she said.

MTD donated the bus and the Mobile Market is funded, in part, by the Community Solutions Incubator, a program of the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, and a Mayors Innovation/Healthy Babies Bright Futures grant awarded to the City of Champaign Township—one of only seven cities in the country to receive funding. 

“Partnerships like this help to provide access to a healthier lifestyle for everyone in our community.  I am so excited for the Mobile Market to hit the streets and begin to make positive change," Deborah Feinen, Mayor, City of Chamaign, said.

Thanks to generous donations and the collaborative spirit of Carle Health and a growing list of community partners, the Mobile Market can serve as a strong catalyst for change. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic and recent social unrest has certainly strengthened our resolve to help address the need for systemic change,” McBride said. “We’re proud to empower others and create resilient and healthy communities.”

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