A grocery store on wheels with reasonably priced, healthy offerings soon will be making the rounds in Prince George’s County, Maryland, communities experiencing high levels of food insecurity that also lack easy access to grocery stores.
Curbside Groceries, operated by the Capital Area Food Bank, will visit four food desert locations weekly. Stops, days and times in Seat Pleasant, Camp Springs and either Hyattsville or Beltsville will be announced soon. The location of the stop in Temple Hills at Iverson Mall is already set.
This will be the effort’s second truck; one has been operating in D.C.’s Ward 8 since January 2020.
“Feedback that is most gratifying is that we track sales every week of what’s flying off the curbside truck and consistently the No. 1 seller is fruit. The No. 2 seller ends up being some type of vegetable or protein,” said Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of Capital Area Food Bank.
“So we know that when good healthy food is made available in communities, people gravitate toward those with high-nutrient content,” she said.
Food Bank offerings via other channels typically are free, but people who have some money to spend might need or just appreciate easier access to affordable healthy options. People can pay with cash, food stamps, debit, gift or credit cards.
As for the prices and what’s meant by affordable?
It means getting grapes and peaches and plums at prices offered at the biggest retail stores in the area when they’re on sale.
“It’s just that those retail stores may not be accessible to some of our clients and customers. So, we are going to them through Curbside Groceries,” Muthiah said.
Curbside Groceries partners include Prince George’s County, Giant Food, UnitedHealthcare and Washingtonian Magazine.
“Depending on the type of volunteering you’d like to do, we can have you engaged with curbside in the community. Or you can help us in the warehouse, pull food together and to pack boxes of emergency food,” Muthiah said.