Prioritizing Fresh Produce on Mobile Food Pantries

Mobile Food Pantries are like farmers markets on wheels that provide supplemental groceries—including produce, protein, dairy, grains and more—to anyone in need at no charge. They are an effective avenue for distributing fresh, perishable food to those who need it.

In preparation for each distribution, one of the food bank’s trucks is filled with 5,000-20,000 pounds of food—over half of which is fresh produce—and driven to the site where it will be distributed by one of our Mobile Pantry partners.

In 2023, on average our Mobile Food Pantries consisted of over 59% fresh produce, 16% dairy and 6% protein. It is often difficult for regular food pantries to provide items like these due to their limited space, so our Mobile Pantries exist to help bridge that gap.

Neighbors in our service area consistently express an appreciation and need for the fresh foods provided by our Mobile Pantries. In Berrien County, a few neighbors shared how the produce they receive from the Mobile Pantry at the American Legion makes a huge difference for their families.

Woman smiling in her car at Mobile Pantry

Kylie is a single parent living on disability. Being able to receive food from the Mobile Pantries helps her save money so she can pay her bills.

“It makes sure I actually have food in the house.”

Meats, fresh vegetables and dairy products are much appreciated products to receive for her and her kids.

Cathy also comes to the Mobile Pantries to help keep her and her 4 kids and 3 grandchildren fed. With increased prices, it’s been more difficult to get what her family needs.

“It keeps the kids fed, that’s the hardest part. It’s nice to get fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Dan shows up to receive food for himself as well as for a few of his neighbors. He’s retired and has a few health problems that make it difficult for him to get out and do certain things

“There’s people I know who can’t make it here, so I help them out. I personally really enjoy getting cheese and vegetables, those I eat a lot.”

It was Marie’s first time at a Mobile Food Pantry. Her and her family just moved to Michigan from California, and with prices so high, she came to get some supplemental groceries.

“The staples are the things that are expensive, the things that my kids need to eat. I have a toddler and a teenager, so we need to get food that can meet all of our needs.”

Coordinator smiling at the Mobile Pantry

Chuck is the coordinator for this Mobile Pantry in New Buffalo, and has been for 15 years now. He is passionate about helping out his community in many different ways, providing food being one of them. He is able to see and understand the need for food in the area around him by being a part of the Mobile Pantries, and knows just how much this food benefits everyone who attends.

“A lot of people are tight on money. Every little bit helps.”

Volunteers holding up meat products at the Mobile Pantry

Mobile Food Pantries like these in Berrien County are made possible through the support of the Pokagon Fund! We are so thankful for their willingness to take action to help us end hunger in our community.

Written by Content Specialist Kelly Reitsma