In the Smoketown neighborhood, on a parking lot overlooked by Grace Hope Presbyterian Church, a little girl in a batman costume and other volunteers are passing out food. Dare to Care organizes a mobile pantry here every month, but on this Tuesday they have 175 pounds of meat thanks to a new partnership with Foxhollow Farm.
Jerry Gardner waited in line and was handed food by kids wearing superhero costumes. Gardner said this service is a help to the community, which has few options.
“When they closed down the Kroger on Second Street, it hurt the community on Second Street. They’re cutting out food stamps, they’re just cutting out everything in a lot of these things around in this zone — not just here but everywhere,” Gardner said.
“These things here help me and my family because I lost my job recently. I’m just here because I need the help. I’m not here ‘just because.’ I’m here for a reason.”
When the Second Street Kroger closed, it hurt Wanda White, too. White said the closure complicated things for her, making her travel farther for food. She’s also thankful for the mobile pantry.
“It’s very convenient and it really helps us to make it over to the following month,” White said. “It’s always easier on a person when they’re on a fixed income to pick up some food to lead you over.”
Annette Ball, chief programs officer at Dare to Care Food Bank estimated around 200 people would get food from the pantry Tuesday.
Ball said there are 56 mobile pantries throughout Louisville that help communities lacking access to grocery stores and healthy food options. She said Dare to Care picks areas to station mobile pantries according to community centers and the number of volunteers who can help.
Several mobile pantries, Ball said, are in the Russell neighborhood.
According to data from the Greater Louisville Project, Louisville ranks second among cities for the percentage of population with low access to grocery stores.
Maggie Keith, a steward for Foxhollow Farm, said the farm may partner with Dare to Care again to provide more meat for the mobile pantries.