Hunger Free Dallas County has recently expanded its pop up produce stands to help meet the needs of local community members. These stands, which now have produce delivered Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 locations throughout the Dallas County area, set their own weekly distribution times, while offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Marketing Intern Olivia Anderson said the nonprofit has been approved to offer this increased availability of produce throughout the month of August, with the plan to continue the expanded location and days as produce and funding become available.
“Knowing the increased need throughout the county, we wanted to do our part to provide support. We have great community partners that were willing to handle the distribution and promotion in the community. The increased availability of produce combined with great community partners made the decision to expand the program easier,” Anderson said.
The Hunger Free Dallas County organization first began as a group of stakeholders that work together to assess needs, provide education, fill gaps in the food system, and develop solutions to end hunger. It later became a separate 501c3 organization in 2019.
Today, Hunger Free Dallas County helps provide resources to approximately 15 communities located throughout the Dallas County area, including information on local farmer’s markets.
The Hunger Free Dallas County Board said that their data shows that many of the smaller communities located within the Dallas County area do not have consistent access to fresh produce. The board said that more than 66,000 of the 87,000 people living in the county are located on the eastern side, with 24 percent in rural Dallas County having limited or no access to anything more than a convenience store.
“The goal of Hunger Free Dallas County is to increase community support systems, volunteerism, and usage of community resources to end food insecurity in Dallas County. One of the special programs includes Pop Up Produce. Pop Up Produce started as a pilot program and will soon be operating in six communities in Dallas County,” Hunger Free Dallas County Chair Christine Creighton said.
In addition, the nonprofit organization is working on a new Food GRID (Grow, Rescue, Identify, Direct) program that is looking to expand to include deliveries to homebound individuals and seniors previously served by the Senior Produce Box Program. Creighton said that this addition of a home delivery to the Pop Up Produce Stands will ensure continued access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
Hunger Free Dallas County is also working to partner with community libraries, such as The Perry Public Library, in order to purchase equipment or refrigerators to store food rescue items and produce. This in turn will help provide additional sites for local community members to access fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The Pop Up Produce Stands have had an incredibly positive impact on the communities they operate in, beginning with the convenience and low prices offered to customers,” Creighton said. “Our focus was to increase access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
The target audience is the entire community and surrounding areas, as the entire community is lacking regular access to fresh produce.”
Those interested in helping support or partner with Hunger Free Dallas County can find more information on the organization’s website or Facebook Page. Hunger Free Dallas County is also in need of help spreading the word about Pop Up Produce stands as well donations to expand locations, produce donations and more.