WEST – The free Westerly Jonnycake Center Farmers’ Market for families and individuals who can benefit from access to fresh produce is back.
The market starts at 9 am every Wednesday morning until mid-September. The weekly market lasts until the day’s supplies run out, usually between 11 a.m. and noon. The market takes place in the downtown rear parking lot at 23 Industrial Drive.
“This is our favorite time of year. We love to chat with everyone and talk about the different things they can do with the vegetables,” said Sarah Shaw, who runs the centre’s pantry.
Most of the produce comes from a community garden in Charlestown where the center operates a plot of about one-third of an acre and typically produces around 4,000 pounds of produce each year for the center and pantries run by others. organizations. Products in the markets also come from grocery stores, wholesalers and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, which supplies a significant amount of locally grown items, Shaw said.
“Fresh produce is something I am very passionate about for our customers because fresh fruits and vegetables are so important in our diet,” said Shaw.
Those in need of fresh produce can attend the market every week. A tent that the center acquired for COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be used for the market, allowing the event to take place except in extreme conditions or thunderstorms, Shaw said.
Unlike last year, when the market functioned as a drive-thru operation due to the pandemic and handed out “mystery bags” filled with an assortment of goods, those who attend this year will be able to select the items they wish. Shaw said.
One or two community organizations will attend the market each week to discuss their services, and Shaw said a weekly prize is often offered. In the past, prices included reusable grocery bags. Shaw suggested looking at the centre’s Facebook page for announcements related to the market, such as which organizations will be attending.
The Jonnycake Center of Westerly is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that provides services designed to lift people in need out of crisis and lead them on a path of self-sufficiency. The centre’s main services include its pantry, which provided more than 233,000 meals to the community in 2019-2020; social services, which distributed over $ 111,000 in emergency financial assistance to nearly 3,000 local residents in the past year; and holiday gifts and meals, which served over 1,500 distressed residents and children in 2020. The center also offers volunteer opportunities that welcome people of all ages and abilities; educational initiatives, including training for underemployed adults (temporarily interrupted during the pandemic); and a 7,000 square foot thrift store, which provides approximately 50% of the funding needed to keep the center operational.
For more information, visit the Jonnycake Center website at jonnycake.org or call 401-377-8069 or visit the center at 23 Industrial Drive.