Community Market facing hunger head-on

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
Community Market's garden in the early Spring of 2017.

The Christmas season often brings with it special memories with families and festive dinners. For some, having enough to eat is a Christmas wish. Without help, many would go hungry during the holidays.

Community Market of Pottawatomie County is a local food bank that has served the county since its opening in the early summer of 2016.

In October of this year, the market reached a benchmark of serving 10,000,000 pounds of food since its opening.

That figure equates to more than 8.3 million meals.

Located downtown, at 120 S. Center, in Shawnee, the market just received $151,600 in a grant from the Avedis Foundation to continue its mission to end food insecurity among the area's residents. Avedis has been a major supporter from the beginning, when it invested $750,000 to establish the center.

The center planted a community garden on a 7,000-square-foot plot onsite in Spring 2017, which continues to supply fresh produce for the area.

“As we come together as a community we have the opportunity to be a game changer for those in our county who battle hunger,” CMPC Executive Director Daniel Matthews said.

They are not just numbers, he said. “Each one has a name and a story,” Matthews said.

The way the market operates is a little different than many food banks. It uses a client's-choice model.

Matthews said the problem most have at a typical grocery store is that healthful options seem to always be more expensive, so someone on a strict budget ends up eating less healthy because they can't afford the best choices.

The community, with this market, can empower people so they can do it the right way.

The client choice food pantry allows clients to choose the foods they want so that they take only what they need –– making more efficient use of food resources. The center stocks a variety of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, protein items and frozen foods and assist clients with other social services in the community, such as healthy cooking classes.

“The greatest mission field we will ever encounter is our own neighbors,” Matthews said. “All we have to do is be willing to cross the street and be willing to offer help to someone.”

Collaboration is key, he said. “We can't do it alone.”

To get help:

• Go to CMPC, at 120 S. Center, in Shawnee. Bring a current mailed utility bill with your current physical address and your state issued ID. During times of high volume, doors may close early due to limited capacity.

Afternoon hours are consistently less busy than morning hours.

• Hours of Operation posted on the website are:

Monday: 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Third Saturday of the month: 10 a.m. to Noon

Sunday: Closed

• For more information, visit CMPC's website, at ourcommunitymarket.org

• For more information, call (405) 788-4957