Community FoodBank offers even better service with their new Mobile Pantry.
The Community FoodBank of San Benito has an innovative addition to its outreach services: a fully stocked Mobile Pantry. It is now making appearances four days a week in eight locations around Hollister, bringing free goods to anyone in the community in need.
The Mobile Pantry has been a dream project of Community FoodBank for several years and was made possible by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the City of Hollister.
“The Mobile Pantry is a collaboration between the city and Community FoodBank,” CEO, Nancy Frusetta said. “A lot of people are impacted by not having cars to get to the food bank or to one of our distribution sites. They could also be disabled or elderly and just not able to travel to us. So we wanted to address the need and be able to get the food to them.”
Renee Perales, Capital Improvement Projects Manager at the City of Hollister, is also enthusiastic about the Mobile Pantry, saying “We are very excited to have been part of the process that helped provide this wonderful mobile food truck. It will enable the FoodBank to expand services and reach more people in our community.”
The Mobile Pantry was purchased from The Farmer’s Truck, a company that specializes in building market trucks that are used to bring food to underserved communities. It resembles a traditional food truck, with a side panel that opens up to allow easy access to the produce and goods inside. The trucks have refrigerated compartments to keep food fresh.
The selection of food varies based on availability, but it always includes fresh produce, canned goods, pre-packaged food, and staples. Customers are given a reusable bag and allowed to take what they want in whatever quantity they need.
Adam Bell, a Hollister resident known for his online weather reports, is an enthusiastic user of the new Mobile Pantry.
“I think it is nice for our community to have this,” Bell said. “People seriously need it, particularly during the pandemic. There is a good variety of food people will enjoy. It’s also cool because you make your own choices. If you don’t like something you don’t have to get it. They don’t just give you a box, you get to pick what you want so there is no waste.”
Customers are asked to sign in before they gather their food and they are asked to self-certify their income. There are no background checks for qualification. Any personal information given to Community FoodBank is confidential and not shared with any other organization.
The Mobile Pantry has a regular schedule in the city, making two stops each day, Monday through Thursday, at rotating locations such as Dunne Park, Memorial Drive, River Parkway/Nash Road, 3rd Street/San Benito, and Sierra Court/Rustic Street. Click here to view the schedule.
Out in the fresh air with plenty of room for social distancing, the Mobile Pantry is a great way for people in need to receive food assistance during the pandemic. But regular customers to the Mobile Pantry don’t have to worry about the service disappearing when the pandemic finally ends — Community FoodBank plans to keep this service running long afterward.
One new customer, Shawna, has not been able to come to the FoodBank for the last year due to her concerns over the pandemic. Her refrigerator had just failed, leaving her out of food. She heard about the food truck and came to check it out.
“I was in need and by the grace of God, it’s here,” she said. “Now I’ll be able to eat each day and I am blessed that we have something in town that helps take care of people. I would say to everyone, ‘Don’t be too proud. If you need some food, come get some. We all need help sometimes in life.”