Photos By Jordan Frias
The Fresh Truck made a visit to the Codman Square Community Health Center in Dorchester on Thursday, August 17, to provide residents, workers and others in the neighborhood with fresh produce, free of charge.
Reusable shopping bags were handed to the first 100 customers of the Fresh Truck, with $10 worth of free produce.
Community and Storytelling Co-op Alessandra Bryant said a partnership with the Codman Square Community Health Center supported the free $10 gifts for individuals and families on that day in recognition of National Health Center Week.
“Our slogan is ‘fresh fruit and produce for those who need it most,’” she added.
The Fresh Truck has been around since 2013, according to its website, and makes 14 stops a week in Boston.
Bryant said prices are made to be at par with Market Basket items, which they find are most affordable for the residents they serve.
“And if things get too expensive, like, for example, avocados, we replace the avocados with blue berries and strawberries to keep the prices low,” Bryant said. “A lot of folks can’t afford these things so we’re trying to give you another option.”
Most Fresh Truck customers told Spare Change News that they stayed within their $10 budget and found a lot of items at an affordable price.
“It’s good to let the community know it’s here to get your fruits and vegetables,” Maria C., an employee of Codman Square Community Health Center, said.
“There’s good stuff,” Andreana C., Maria’s co-worker, added. This was the second time that Andreana had visited the Fresh Truck.
“The product that they give you, it’s in good condition, like the potatoes and onions are big, and they have a lot of things, which I was surprised about,” Andreana said.
Susan Phillip, a nutrition educator for Kit Clark Senior Services who lives in the area, said programs like this are important for the community.
“This is unbelievable. Not everybody has access or it’s very expensive,” she said after doing some shopping of her own while on her work break in the city.
Codman Square Community Health Center employee Tina Sampson said she liked “the idea that the food was cheaper than the store.”
“They give you a variety of things,” she added.
Sampson’s co-worker Yngris Abreu said the experience was like shopping at a store. She and other customers were helped by market managers, who helped customers pick out produce and restocked popular items inside the truck throughout the day. Some even urged customers to grab more items last minute to fulfill their $10 during checkout.
Iman Toney, who lives in the Mattapan area, was introduced to the Fresh Truck and found it to be a possible option for him in the future. He bought apples, cantaloupes, bananas and pears with his $10 and was complimented for having “perfect math” when he went to the checkout.
“It’s nice and cheap, and it’s fresh,” Toney said. “I seen it before but I didn’t know what it was about. I thought it was food to go.”
The Fresh Truck is exploring a change in schedule to begin in September and is weighing the option of selling refrigerated items such as milk and eggs in the future.
The Fresh Truck’s schedule can be found on its website freshtruck.org/schedule.