Mobile market takes road trip | News, Sports, Jobs

WARREN — Emmett Williams is frustrated by the lack of a full-service grocery store nearby, so he jumped at the opportunity to patronize a grocery store that doesn’t have a permanent location.

“I definitely buy a lot of stuff like this,” said Williams of Warren.

He was referring to the 28-foot mobile marketplace operated by Flying HIGH Inc. in partnership with the grassroots Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) organization. Heavy vehicles that serve Mahoning County were on display at Saturday afternoon’s open house and tape-cutting gathering to celebrate ACTION’s new Warren office at 2051 Niles Road SE.

The new space will allow the faith-based organization, which has operated out of various churches for most of its existence, to continue and expand its efforts to tackle food insecurity, poverty, racial injustice, , enabling us to fight epidemics and more, said Rose Carter, Executive Director.

“We need to reach out to people, so we said, ‘Let’s drive to the grocery store,'” Carter said.

Williams bought some fruit, but he added that he intends to take advantage of the mobile grocery store concept after the launch of a slightly larger vehicle planned for Trumbull County later this year.

The mobile market was filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, frozen mini-pizzas, ice cream, condiments, chicken pot pies, steaks, beverages, bread, and more.

Acceptable payment methods include cash, credit cards, debit cards, and Federal Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program cards, explained Carter, and her organization works with farmers in Trumbull County to produce fresh, locally grown food. He added that he plans to purchase a variety of agricultural products.

Flying HIGH Founder and Executive Director Jeff Magada said of the vehicle: “You do something because you feel the need, but you really don’t know until the community reacts. Their reaction certainly proves the need for food.”

The mobile grocery store, replenished as needed and based at Mineral Ridge’s Campus of Care, is also part of the nonprofit Flying High’s workforce development program, he continued.

A similar 32-foot vehicle will be available to serve residents in all parts of Trumbull County, possibly starting this summer, Magada said.

For that effort, ACTION has received about $250,000 from the Trumbull County Commissioner, and the city of Warren has pledged an additional $150,000, Carter said. An additional $25,000 was donated during Saturday’s open house, courtesy of Warren’s CareSource.

Rev. Karla Robinson, associate pastor of Warren’s Second Baptist Church, said she wants to “touch the community she loves” by tackling issues like food insecurity and social injustice.

Another benefit of the mobile grocery store is that it can help people living in rural areas, especially in Trumbull County, added Commissioner Niki Frenchko.

Others who have spoken enthusiastically about continuing ACTION’s work to eradicate the plague, deal with irresponsible landlords, and address other problems in Trumbull and Mahoning counties include Warren’s Progressive Baptist Church. It was Reverend Jeff Stanford, a pastor.

“If you need everything I have, we will make a difference in the community,” he said.

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