Mobile food bank helps Central State students, community

The Community Marketplace mobile food pantry student volunteer Emmitt Higgins, right, helps a student, Teesh J., at a recent food distribution event at Central State University's campus. ,The pantry happens the second Tuesday of every month to help students and nearby community members. ADRIENNE OGLESBY/STAFF
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The Community Marketplace mobile food pantry student volunteer Emmitt Higgins, right, helps a student, Teesh J., at a recent food distribution event at Central State University's campus. ,The pantry happens the second Tuesday of every month to help students and nearby community members. ADRIENNE OGLESBY/STAFF

For students who are in college, eating junk food is tempting and easy,

That is just one reason why, on the second Tuesday of each month, Central State University offers a mobile food bank called The Community Marketplace. It offers better food for students who might otherwise make less healthy choices or even run out of food by the end of the month, plus it helps local community members in need.

Central State University Counseling Services student volunteer Henry Gray said it is easiest to eat what is cheapest or to “make really poor choices of food items that your body does not need.”

“Nowadays, ‘going healthy’ with food choices can be expensive,” Gray said. “The Community Marketplace tries to provide fresh vegetables, fruits, bread and other healthy items for students to pick from as opposed to the junk we might normally pick.”

CSU partners with local food banks, Kroger, the Montgomery County Human Services Department, the USDA, the United Way and other contributors, to offer the mobile pantry.

Gray said the healthier food isn’t always what a student likes the most, “but I know it’s what we need, so I take it with a smile, and eventually end up trying something new, that is probably better for my eating habits anyway.”

Students said the pantry is a helpful resource the campus provides.

Joseph Smith is not only a student at CSU but also is a year-long volunteer for The Community Marketplace.

“I like the cause, it is free, plus I am all for community service,” Smith said.

Volunteer workers for the mobile pantry said they love to give back and serve, and they would like to see the program become a more well-known resource for more students and for local community members.

Mobile Pantry Manager Andy Macy said, “The program itself has been around for 8-9 years, and around 3 years specifically at CSU. All of the food is fresh from local farm markets, the state of Ohio, federal government, and by donation. We try to ensure that each person walks away with one meat, bakery and shelf items.”

The Community Marketplace is run from Central State University’s Ward Center, 14000 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce. All food distributed is free of cost, and all people are welcome from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

For more information, questions and to volunteer, contact Mary Kershaw at (937)376-6654 or via email mkershaw@centralstate.edu.