By Olivia Overman
Sponsored by Action In Community Through Service (ACTS)
A partnership between Prince William Food Rescue (PWFR) and several mobile home parks in Prince William has led to a program that provides free fresh food deliveries to community residents. Currently working with the Manassas Mobile Home Park, Featherstone Mobile Home Park and the Grayson Village Mobile Home Park, Prince William Food Rescue is having a positive impact on communities. More often than not, these residents must choose whether to purchase food or pay for other essentials like rent or medication.
A Powerful Impact
“Each park receives fresh foods donated by local grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants… [It is] transported to them by our Food Rescue Heroes,” said Claire Duncan, Distribution Manager at Prince William Food Rescue. PWFR helps arrange for the food to be donated and delivered. Then, they work with the park managers to figure out the best way to set up food distribution and how to market it to their residents. “It is a powerful example of what impact our program can have on this community,” said Duncan.
The partnership with PWFR allows Sherry Taylor, Park Manager at Manassas Mobile Home Park, to help the residents receive fresh food as often as it is delivered. “I have a Facebook page for community residents… I will post on there when food is being delivered so residents can come and choose what they need,” she said. Taylor sometimes drives it through the park to residents who might not be able to make it to the office. This can be a lifesaver for some of the community’s senior citizens.
More than Food Distribution
Taylor was born and raised in the park and is now devoting her life to giving back to the park and its residents. “I hold monthly and quarterly events for the residents, with the quarterly events being a block party or an ice cream social,” she said. “I hand out flyers for the events and we set up tables behind the park office.” Taylor also runs a ‘Read With Me’ program and a ‘Care in the Community’ program for the children who live in the park, primarily during the summer months.
Asked what types of foods are delivered to the park, she said “breads, meats, cakes, pies, vegetables, and drinks as well as non-perishable foods.” Taylor has always had a small food pantry in the park office. PWFR is currently partnering with Marty Nohe from Appliance Connection to donate a refrigerator so additional food can be stored in the office.
Describing Taylor, Duncan said, “she knows a lot about the challenges low-income residents in our area face, and she’s an inspiring example of resourcefulness, sacrifice, and service. Her passion for giving back pours out of her any time she speaks.”
Featherstone Mobile Home Park and the Grayson Village Mobile Home Park also tailor their food distribution to their communities’ needs. Grayson Village receives a food donation twice a week and it is distributed throughout the week at their community center. The Featherstone Mobile Home Park holds a free food market once a week when food has been delivered by the Food Rescue Heroes. The property managers of all the parks do whatever is needed to assist their residents in receiving food, especially the elderly and those not physically able to get to the park office.
The Future is Bright
The impact that fresh food can make to people has been proven. Distributing such food items that otherwise would be discarded to those who could use it can only be described as genius. “We are so excited to see how this [program]grows and what impact it will have on the people living in these parks,” said Duncan.
With a mission to instill hope, provide relief and to promote self-sufficiency for our neighbors in crisis in the Greater Prince William area, ACTS is working towards creating a community where no one goes without or suffers alone. Through the services and programs we offer, we believe while people may come to us in crisis, they will leave filled with hope, concrete relief and the tools to succeed without us.
Olivia Overman (email@example.com) is a freelance writer for both online and print organizations. She earned a M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University, Washington, D.C.