The doors officially opened for the new Community Market of Pottawatomie County (CMoPC) food resource center on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. The CMoPC provides food and resources to local residents struggling with hunger, and as the motto reads, the center is committed to "Fighting Hunger... Feeding Hope". In addition to access to nutritious food in an empowering shopping environment, the CMoPC also offers services and resources such as resume and career assistance, nutrition classes and driver safety.
CMoPC operates in a client choice model which means the pantry looks and operates like a grocery store. Shoppers choose the foods they want and take only what they need. The shelves are stocked with fresh produce, dairy, meats and other products. This model not only limits waste, but adds dignity and independence to the shopping experience.
According to AARP Oklahoma 2015 Hunger Survey, nearly half (47 percent) of adults in Pottawatomie County has someone in their household who has struggled with hunger, and two thirds (66 percent) say someone close to them had inconsistent access to food. Additionally, 57 percent of adults in Pottawatomie County believe the number of families struggling with hunger in their community has increased since 2012.
AARP Associate State Director Outreach and CMOPC board member Mashell Sourjohn takes great pride in the fact that the food resource center is the first of its kind in the state to be built from the ground up. AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl said CMoPC demonstrates how a small group of concerned citizens can take a concern to a community sustainable solution that will impact generations to come. “Just nine short months ago, many of us stood on this very spot to break ground so that local families don’t have to worry about how they will break bread together," he said. "It was an exciting day that grew from a concern, an idea and that has lead us here to today. It is a day we at AARP Oklahoma are so proud to be a part of.”
CMoPC Executive Director Daniel Matthews estimates between 1200-1500 individuals will now be served each month. At the ground breaking Mathews shared an experience which summed up the impact of CMoPC. "This morning we served our first client. She is a grandmother who is raising her grandchildren. She is scheduled for a life-saving procedure tomorrow and didn’t know how she was going to feed her grandchildren while she was away. While we are not scheduled to open our doors until July 5 th, we welcomed her in and supplied her with the food she will need to feed her grandchildren while she is away so she will have one less worry. And that’s what we are all about. Creating positive change that will impact lives, generations and the future of our community," Matthews said. "By working together, we can increase the quality of life in Pottawatomie County."
Photos of the June 28, 2016 ribbon cutting may be accessed HERE.
AARP Oklahoma is a proud sponsor of CMoPC along with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, The Avedis Foundation, Cleo Craig Foundation, Junior Service League of Shawnee, OG&E, United Way and Walton Foundation. Community supporters include: Family of Faith Church, Gordon Cooper Technology Center, Mission Shawnee, Oklahoma State University Extension, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Salvation Army.
The Community Market has expanded hours of operation to better serve hungry residents in a grocery-store-like setting. Hours of operation are Monday from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information, including volunteer opportunities, please visit www.ourcommunitymarket.org.