Webb City Farmers Market Partners with Group of Volunteers to Provide Hot Meals to Those in Need | Local news

WEBB CITY, Mo. – The Webb City Farmers Market is a community-minded place by handing out free meals to children during the summer, sponsoring cooking classes, and providing an incubator in its commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs. culinary professionals who wish to create their own business. .

The market recently added a new initiative to its services: helping provide hot meals to those in need at Joplin’s Ewert Park.

After the market’s children’s summer meal program closed, manager Rachael Lynch said she realized the market still receives donations of fresh produce from some of its vendors.

“We usually funnel all this food into the children’s meals that we offer in the summer, but every time it stops we have no way of using the food,” she said. “So in October, I contacted Food Not Bombs to inquire about the services they provide every Saturday. “

Joplin’s Food Not Bombs group has approximately 1,800 Facebook followers and consists of 15-20 people who volunteer to collect food, clothing, personal hygiene products, tents, sleeping bags and more for those in need. The group is also trying to deliver food and supplies to families in the area who are specifically asking for help, volunteer Gerry Wittmann said.

“Food Not Bombs is not a charity; it’s about helping each other in our community, ”said Wittmann. “We are not a non-profit organization, corporation or any other legal entity. There is no board of directors, no officers, no salaries. We are a diverse group of people who work to improve our community by prioritizing those in need in a society where violence and extreme greed are endemic.

Every Saturday, Food Not Bombs provides food and other essentials to those in need at Ewert Park.

Lynch said she decided she could use donations from market vendors and the fully equipped market kitchen to provide hot meals on the first Saturday of every month for the roughly 60 people Food Not Bombs serves. Meals are vegetarian and include leek and potato soup and vegan chili.

The first Saturday of market service with Food Not Bombs was November 6.

“It was a way for us to continue to use fresh, local produce in a way that can help fight hunger,” Lynch said.

Lynch said she fully supports what Food Not Bombs is doing, especially because there are no religious requirements for people in need of help.

“These are just people helping others,” Lynch said. “I’m really excited to find Food Not Bombs because I believe in what they do, I believe in the way they do it, and I’m excited to be able to help them be successful in our region. “

Lynch also said she liked the fact that the organization strives to meet more than just the needs of hunger by helping others find resources that could help them. The market plans to provide hot meals once a month until April, when the children’s meal program will restart, she said.

Wittmann said the cooperation of the Webb City Farmers Market is a positive contribution to the group’s efforts.

“The fact that they bring in fresh, healthy food from local producers aligns well with FNB guidelines,” Wittmann said. “We believe it is important that those in need are heard and seen, and treated with respect, not only as human beings, but also as members of our community.

Other groups that have helped the Food Not Bombs mission are the Minnie Hackney Community Center, 360 Blessings, Shiloh Baptist Church, Bridgewater Roofing, Blackthorn Pizza & Pub, Maria’s Mexican Grill & Cantina, Joplin Avenue Coffee Co., and Bookhouse Cinema.

“Last winter, we worked with the right people at the Minnie Hackney Community Center to provide indoor shelter for the homeless in our community on very cold nights and to provide volunteers for these occasions,” said Wittmann. “We are working with the Minnie Hackney Community Center again for the coming winter, after recruiting two dozen volunteers. “

Wittmann said the group is also currently working with the Dream Theater Troupe to have an indoor option for meals on Saturdays when it’s too cold to have them at the park.

James V. Payne