LYNN — The Lynn Community Health Center’s Mobile Market celebrated five years of its food distribution operation on Sunday.
This market, in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, distributes about 9,000 to 12,000 pounds of food to 450 households the first Saturday of every month.
Throughout the last five years, the mobile market has served an average of 1,109 individuals each month, giving out a total of 420,283 meals.
LCHC Care Coordinator and Mobile Market Lead Lilia Bermudez said the market is an opportunity for the organization to give back to the community and make a difference.
“I get great joy when I see the happy faces of those receiving bags of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Bermudez said. “Being able to assist 400 plus people a month makes me feel so accomplished. I am a mother of three and I couldn’t imagine having my kids or anyone in my family go without food to eat. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this for five years, and I look forward to continuing to support our community.”
Four lead LCHC employees helped organize the Mobile Market from its inception including Bermudez, Iris Padilla, Lorie Martinez, and Leidy Pimentel.
The year-round market is held in the parking lot of the Deborah Smith Walsh Recuperative Care Center on Buffum Street and is staffed by LCHC employees who volunteer their time, as well as LCHC board members and community volunteers.
LCHC’s Mobile Market partners with Commonwealth Care Alliance, which provides 450 insulated food bags that volunteers fill with food provided by GBFB each month. The food bank’s partnership with LCHC is one of several partnerships with health centers to ensure access to healthy food for health center patients and community members who need it most.
“The Lynn Community Health Center continues to be a beacon of hope on the North Shore, providing healthcare and for the last 5 years a much-needed mobile market to support the nutrition needs of the community,” said Jonathan Tetrault, vice president of community impact at GBFB. “Now more than ever we need great community partners like LCHC to help the growing number of families and individuals experiencing a lack of food access due to the enduring impact of the pandemic and the worst inflation we have seen in over 40 years.”
Mobile Market volunteers said they were proud to be able to serve patrons when they needed it most, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, only missing one month of distribution to adjust the process to protect the health and safety of workers and visitors.
Mark Waggoner, CCA general manager for Massachusetts, said food security is directly tied to health and well-being, and at CCA, they believe in a holistic approach to healthcare.
“Volunteering alongside LCHC and the Greater Boston Food Bank for the past five years has been an opportunity to bring fresh, healthy produce to food-insecure households that are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes,” Waggoner said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Mobile Market to distribute food to families throughout Lynn and beyond.”