Y partnerships bring fresh foods to neighborhoods
by Special to the Banner
Jul 06, 2014 | 895 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beginning July 11, Bradley County neighborhoods lacking access to fresh and healthy foods will have the opportunity to shop for vegetables, fruits and other staples, thanks to a partnership between the YMCA and local agencies which will bring a mobile market to the area, said Lee McChesney, Cleveland Family YMCA executive director and vice president.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, in conjunction with First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Cleveland Family YMCA, United Way of Bradley County, Impact Cleveland, Price Memorial AME Zion Church, Blythe Family Support Center and Cleveland Housing Authority, have teamed up to make it possible for the mobile market to come to the Blythe Family Support Center, Zion Enrichment Center and public housing units at Lay and Elrod Street S.E.

Beginning July 11, and continuing for 10 weeks, the Mobile Market will be at the Blythe Family Support Center from 10 a.m. to noon; Zion Enrichment Center of the Price Memorial AME Zion Church from 1 to 3 p.m.; and public housing units at Lay and Elrod streets S.E. from 4 to 6 p.m.

Residents will be able to shop for fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and other healthy foods such as bread and milk.

“This is a unique partnership and one that will benefit the residents of Bradley County. Having access to fresh foods is vitally important for good health. We are proud to be part of this team effort,” said McChesney.

Getting the Mobile Market to Bradley County would not have been possible without the monetary assistance of First Baptist Church and United Way, added McChesney.

“We believe this is an excellent ministry to people in our community, a great way to partner with others in helping people and another way we can accomplish one of the purposes of why we exist as a church,” said Jim Gibson, First Baptist Church co-pastor.

In these communities there is a shortage of healthy food. There are not many fresh grocery options nearby and the Mobile Market is striving to address this problem, said Dustin Tommey, Community Development Director Impact Cleveland.

“For the most part, people these days really do want to eat healthier food, but it is often unaffordable because ‘fresh, local, and organic’ items simplyaren’t cheap. Having the YMCA Mobile Market here in Cleveland will allow our residents the opportunity to buy quality food inexpensively and conveniently – right in our own neighborhood,” said Tommey.

Area residents can shop at the Mobile Market and pay with cash, credit card, EBT card or the SNAP card. Once the program gets going, area residents can order what they’d like delivered from week to week, said Bill Rush, J.A. Henry Community YMCA executive director.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga Mobile Market will add Cleveland to its locations. Mobile Market Chattanooga, organized by a partnership between Gaining Ground, the Health Department, YMCA and the Food Bank, began serving residents in Hamilton County in 2012.

The program has grown to 12 sites delivering food year-round. For more information visit the market website at www.chattanoogamobilemarket.org.

“We have seen tremendous growth in this program due to the huge need for fresh foods in these neighborhoods. This partnership has been instrumental in getting healthy food to the tables in Hamilton County neighborhoods,” said Rush.

Addresses for the Mobile Market Cleveland sites are as follows:

- Blythe Family Support Center - 1075 Blythe Ave. S.E.

- Zion Enrichment Center (Price Memorial AME Zion Church) - 254 Dooley St. N.E.

- The public housing units at Lay and Elrod St. - 1204 Lay St. S.E.