From April through November, Priority Partners Community Health Advocates (CHAs) attend the Crossroads Farmers Market in the Montgomery/Prince George’s County area. Since 2017, CHAs have provided $5 in tokens for members to use on fresh food at the market.
Members with zip codes in the surrounding area get text messages to come out and visit the Priority Partners table on a monthly basis. Showing their ID card, members receive tokens to purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers. On average, 60-80 members are assisted every month. In 2022, over the course of 15 Farmers Market events, Priority Partners provided tokens to 329 members, totaling more than $3,000 in fresh food.
On Dec. 10, CHA Lisa Moran attended a food drop in at Rehoboth UMC Church in Williamsport, MD, co-hosted by Priority Partners. During the two-and-a-half hour drive-up event, more than 360 families were served, more than 100 more than in November, thanks to the extra food provided by Priority Partners. Each family received two boxes of food, including a whole frozen chicken. The volunteers served hot chocolate right to the car windows, gave out homemade cookies and candy canes, coloring books to the children and adults, and Lisa gave out information on Priority Partners.
Despite the damp, cold morning, the cars kept coming.
“We just kept saying they are still coming as far as we could see,” Lisa said. “It was a good feeling seeing everyone helping each other, and most didn’t seem to mind the fact that red hands and cold feet were felt. It became the last thing on their mind with the focus on getting the food into the vehicles with a great big smile and a Merry Christmas smile as they drove away.”
Through events like these, Priority Partners is improving access to food for more families.