WOW Mobile Pantry offers produce for all
By RODD CAYTON The Daily News Jul 23, 2017
FORT MOHAVE — The WOW Mobile Pantry got off to a rough start Friday, but ultimately, hundreds of people were fed.
With temperature well into triple-digits and a long line, a few people who attended the food-distribution event needed medical attention.
The event was hosted by the Caring Hearts Food Ministry, in collaboration with the Mojave Desert Nutrition Initiative.
The initiative’s Betty Rae said that the 10 a.m. start time and clients’ ill-preparation likely led to the medical episodes.
She said she’s going to aim to have future summer events start earlier, and that as part of the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, it should get more dependable deliveries.
The affiliation with St. Mary’s means that the $15 charge at previous WOW events is gone, and the organizations merely accept donations; everyone received free food Friday.
The offerings included corn, turnips, grapes and watermelons, as well as bread, cracker chips and 2-liter bottles of Pepsi.
Rae said that lines are frequently long at WOW events, and that those coming for food should be prepared for the weather. When it’s hot, she said, that means a hat and bottled water.
Rae said that organizers will also look for more ways to help people cope with the heat.
“We don’t want community members leaving in an ambulance,” she said.
A Fort Mojave Mesa Fire District ambulance arrived, and some guests were seen by paramedics, but it wasn’t known whether anyone needed to be taken to a hospital.
Since the first market last June, Rae said, the groups have distributed 278,000 pounds of produce, for about 3,500 households.
Dropping the $15 cost, Rae said, opens the events up to more people.
“The homeless, families who are low-income and struggling with WIC and SNAP,” she said.
“If the richest person in Bullhead City wants to come have some food, they can.”
There is no eligibility process, but demographic information (household sizes and ZIP codes) was taken Friday.
WOW markets feature “rescued produce,” still edible but rejected by grocers.
Rae said the food, which normally would end up in landfills, is distributed at the markets, except for moldy or otherwise ruined produce, which is shipped to area farms for use as compost or animal feed.