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Mobile Market Brings Food To Customers
By the time the Piggly Wiggly mobile market parks in one of 33 locations in Milwaukee, Wis., there’s typically a line of people waiting. Shoppers appreciate the prices (half-off store prices) and the variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat products to choose from.
Without transportation and with limited budgets, most of the shoppers don’t have easy access to healthy food, says Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director for the Hunger Task Force that serves the greater Milwaukee area.
“We had the idea 10 years ago to take a car trailer and create a single aisle grocery store for people to shop instead of getting food for free,” Tussler says. Costs are covered through federal grants and local foundation money, and it’s become an important piece of Milwaukee’s anti-hunger policy program.
The mobile market provides affordable food that customers choose.
“Staff load and drive the truck to bring the right food for the neighborhood,” Tussler says. For example, avocados and jalapeno peppers are food staples for some neighborhoods, while collard greens and smoked meat are more sought after in other neighborhoods.
“We charge by the item and not the pound,” she adds. That makes it easier for customers to know how much they’re spending and to get people through checkout faster. Tiny shopping carts and helpers make the process go smoothly.
Two 90-minute stops are scheduled each day, with the truck restocking mid-day for the afternoon stop.
Tussler notes that some doubted the mobile option would work in the beginning, but based on trust in the nonprofit, people started coming and continue to be regular customers. In addition to customers who live in poverty or food deserts, one stop is near a workplace for people who are blind.
“They are very excited to shop for themselves,” Tussler says, to buy quality food at a reasonable price, thanks to the collaboration with Piggly Wiggly. Another success has been partnering with a medical college that reports improvements for people with diabetes because they have healthier food options.
The first trailer has been replaced with an improved version with better lighting, refrigeration, an automatic door, and exterior awning.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Hunger Task Force, 5000 W. Electric Ave., West Milwaukee, Wis. 53219 (info@hungertaskforce.org; www.hungertaskforce.org).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3