New Reynoldsburg food market concept sees surge in visitors

The Mid-Ohio Market at HEART in Reynoldsburg is open 27 hours throughout the week.
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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio 2020年欧洲杯预测- Kelly Gaines had a shopping cart full of supplies on Friday.

2020年欧洲杯预测"I work full time, I just don’t make enough money, unfortunately, and I have some medical issues, so, in order to make ends meet, I kind of have to have a little bit of help," Gaines said. "If you’ve got $50 for the whole month, and you’re like, well, I need gas, and I also need food, what do you do, you know. But now, at least I can eat."

She is able to make ends meet now because of the Mid-Ohio Market at HEART in Reynoldsburg. The market opened in December with a new concept and extended hours.

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2020年欧洲杯预测"Before, you would come to a pantry and the connotation was, I’m going to give you whatever we have, and now it’s a matter of, come and shop for your family and what they will enjoy," said Cheryl Wooten, the market's executive director. "It’s no longer just about giving food, it’s what the value of that food is, the nutritional value, and how it really blesses a family."

2020年欧洲杯预测The original pantry opened back in 2011. People in need could visit once a month to pick up supplies. The pantry served around 250 people a month at the time.

2020年欧洲杯预测But, thanks to a partnership with the MId-Ohio Foodbank, the market now operates more like a traditional grocery store and is open 27 hours throughout the week. Shoppers also can visit on a weekly basis instead of monthly. And, the numbers are surging. Close to 1,000 people now shop at the market each week.

"We want to be open when they can be here," Wooten said. "If you have to take off time from work to come to shop, you’re now losing three to four hours of income because you’re an hourly wage earner. This way, we’re open two nights a week until 8 o’clock, we’re open Fridays, we’re open Saturdays. So, between that time, you really could come and shop and not have to affect your job."

2020年欧洲杯预测The numbers are rising in large part because of word-of-mouth. Those who shop there are sharing the experience with friends and family members. Between 35 and 50 new people are now signing up each day. To qualify, shoppers have to live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

2020年欧洲杯预测"The most important part in this whole setup is the dignity, and we’re trying to preserve people’s dignity," said Leo Dubois, director of operations. "It’s not walking out and handing them a box of food that probably, half of it, they’re not going to eat. We’re dealing with multiple nationalities, people with different eating habits, and we want to respect all those habits."

Dubois made sure there was enough space in the aisles for two shopping carts to pass one another, signs to note the store sections and plenty of fresh produce.

2020年欧洲杯预测"Our biggest push here is to get people to eat healthy, so that’s why we put no limits on our fresh produce," he said. "People can come here one time per week and get all the fresh produce they want, which is included – refrigerated items, our eggs, milk, we actually have all different types of milk, including chocolate milk, 1 percent, and shelf-stable milk."

2020年欧洲杯预测Shoppers also can connect with social services and get advice on how to prepare certain foods. A Mount Carmel chef stops by to give cooking presentations. The hope is to record those to broadcast on a large screen in the market throughout the week for shoppers who miss the live presentations.

2020年欧洲杯预测"At any given time, any day, one of us might need help," Wooten said. "And, because of that, I think it compels us to really reach out to our neighbors and say, welcome, I get you. I have been there, or I might be there one day, and it takes us to really come alongside one another to say, we’re going to walk with you through this."

It's a mission Gaines can appreciate. She has seen the impact on the community and herself.

2020年欧洲杯预测"It’s critical, it really is, like there’s so many of us that need help, and you’re not able to get it, and, like I said, you work, it’s not that you’re not trying, you do, it’s just that you can’t make ends meet the way things are and the way expenses are nowadays, so it’s kind of nice to have something where you can band together, and people are helping each other to get everything taken care of."