I had a meeting in DC last week at the Dean Wood Community Center & Library. While in wait mode, I took a walk around the facility. To say I was impressed with it is the least I could say because the place truly blew me away.
I kept asking questions because I couldn't believe it was free to the public with minimal fees for use of services like the fitness center and the pool. There was a full blown senior center with a VERY active senior population, meeting rooms, quiet rooms, computer room, etc.
And it was all free.
I walked outside and walked around a bit stopping in my tracks when I saw this:
I just stood there for a minute taking it all in and then...well...yall know me...I started talking to people. Mainly, Ms. Charlotte, who is a regular customer, and Benjamin Bartley, the Mobile Market Director.
You know how, when you find something you love, you could go on and on and on about it? Well, that was Ms. Charlotte. She couldn't stop talking about how great the mobile market was and how she got as much food from there as she could. She raved about how fresh the produce is and how she bought a chicken last week and it was a good size chicken that tasted so good her granddaughter rushed home the next day to have more of it. She said she knows all about how bad a lot of the chemicals in foods are so she's happy she has a choice and she's been shopping there since she first found out about it.
So I asked Ms. Charlotte where she used to shop before the mobile market and she said over at the Safeway. When I asked if this was better...Ms. Charlotte looked at me like I was slow. "You ain't never been over to the Safeway huh? Ain't nothing like this over there."
The gentleman I'd met over there asked me if I wanted him to take me over to the neighborhood Safeway so I could see for myself and I assured them that I believed them. No need for a grocery store field trip. Being from Louisiana...I've seen grocery stores which were less than desirable. But I was a bit confused because hey...she said it was a Safeway and the Safeway out by where I lived was like a gourmet food market dang near. The answer to that was, "They put the worst things in the Safeway out here because they can."
SIP: Are we going to have to stop shopping at Safeway?
That made me a bit sad but Ms. Charlotte wouldn't let me feel bad for too long because her joy was simply contagious. She went on and on about Benjamin and how she was glad they set it up so that people who needed to, could use their EBT cards and... "ooooh...the bread. The bread is so good and it has these little different kind of seeds in it. I think some of them are sunflower seeds and it's so good. I never had bread like that before and now...I don't like no other bread. Nope. You can't catch me eating that white bread after this bread." And she smiled and made me so happy with her happiness.
If you're ever looking for something to donate to which CLEARLY makes a difference, please consider donating to ArcadiaFood.org. I am SO happy they exist. The mobile market makes many stops in DC to areas that are underserved with healthy, fresh food options.
From their site:
Arcadia’s Mobile Market is a 28-foot, farmers'-market-on-wheels that delivers crates full of local, sustainably produced food across the Washington, DC area, catering to underserved communities that don’t otherwise have access to fresh, affordable food. Arcadia’s Mobile Market promotes healthy lifestyle choices by engaging community members at market stops and students at schools in the preparation of local food in cost-effective, nutritious ways.
The 2013 Mobile Market season begins on May 1st and runs through October 30th.
4:00 – 6:00pm
The Overlook at Oxon Run
3700 9th St SE, Washington, DC 20032
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Circle 7 Express
740 Kenilworth Terrace NE, Washington, DC 20019
9:00am – 11:00am
South County Center
8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22309
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Children’s National Medical Center WIC Clinic
111 Michigan Ave NW, Washington, DC 20310
4:00pm – 7:00pm
Corner of 3rd and Elm Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001
3:00pm – 6:00pm
8908 Riggs Road, Adelphi, MD 20783
10:00am – 1:00pm
Deanwood Recreation Center
4800 Minnesota Ave NE, Washington, DC 20019
3:00pm – 6:00pm
National Children’s Center
3400 MLK Jr Ave SE, Washington, DC 20032