Free groceries. That's one of the initiatives one local organization is doing to help the growing food insecurity issue in Tallahassee.
Community Co-op Market is a community based grocery store. It's mission is to build a stronger community by ensuring everyone has access to healthy food. Troy Bond is proud to be a resource in a time of need.
"Everybody has times in their lives when food access can be an issue and we want to be there to support everyone," said Bond.
One way they're doing this is by starting a new program that will allow shoppers to get fresh produce for free. "People with a SNAP card will be able to actually shop here and load up 10 free dollars worth of produce," said Bond.
The Fresh Access Bucks Program will be the first of its kind in the county. It will only be offered at Community Co-Op Market starting next month.
Another organization helping a more vulnerable population facing food insecurity is Elder Care Services. Over the past two years, they've seen an increase in need that continues to grow.
They serve over 2,000 seniors a year through its five different programs. In 2021, they delivered around 148,000 meals to seniors in Leon County through Meals on Wheels and 1,200 bags of food were distributed through their Emergency Food Pantry Program. It allows people 60 years or older to get a bag of three days worth of food once a month.
"For many seniors that just can't weather changes in expected income each month, so our emergency food pantry is a really great way to make sure that seniors in any of those situations do not go hungry," said Ballas.
Even if it's a short term solution, Nicole Ballas wants seniors to know they're here to help. "To know that they don't have to go hungry. That there are people here that want to take care of them and care about them to keep them safe and healthy and fed throughout the month."
In a recent study by Feeding America, they found the most food insecure areas in Leon County had rates between 54 and 66%.