The residents on the North Side of Binghamton have been without a grocery store since 1996. Last summer, that changed when CHOW began a pilot project introducing a new grocery option to the area.

It wasn’t the typical brick-and-mortar type of grocery store people are used to, but rather an old school bus converted into a mobile market.

The bus carries meat, eggs, milk, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables at low or no cost, and accepts cash, check, credit or EBT.

The mobile market was highly successful, serving 2,000 consumers between June 30 and the end of 2017.

Because of its success, CHOW has expanded its route to include rural areas like Deposit and Harpursville.

Funding for the conversion of the old school bus came from a variety of sources. Visions and Horizons Federal Credit Unions each donated $5,000 toward the project, and the United Way provided $15,000. The built-in freezer was purchased by the City of Binghamton, and the generator providing electricity to run the lights, coolers, freezers and climate control unit was purchased with funds from the New York State Department of Health Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant.

North Side resident Mindy Weitzal says, “I love that the bus comes to the neighborhood weekly. It always has a great selection of quality products and wonderful produce at great prices. It really allows people to stretch their SNAP benefits and eat healthy.”

CHOW is very grateful to those who have provided funding for this project. Through their financial assistance, we are achieving our mission to help people in need.

Jack Seman is the program director for Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.

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