PURCELLVILLE, Va. (WDVM) — Non-profit Mobile Hope has donated 11 million pounds of produce to food-insecure Virginians, and thanks to a new partnership with JK Community Farm, that number is going to keep on growing.
“Mobile hope is a non-profit that is focused on helping our homeless and precariously housed kids,” said Donna Fortier, CEO of Mobile Hope.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the organization had more mouths to feed. Mobile Hope went from serving 4,000 people per year to over 207,000.
Now, thanks to a grant from Google, the non-profit was able to plant more produce at the farm to meet the need.
“Everything that we grow is donated to local food banks and food pantries, so we distribute in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, and this year, D.C,” said Samantha Kuhn, Executive Director at JK Community Farm.
Radishes, turnips and carrots will now fill bio-intensive raised beds funded by the grant.
“Raised beds allow us to grow crops that we haven’t been able to grow in the field as successfully. The beds are filled with mushroom compost and then we do 10% topsoil, which allows us to control the nutrient density of the plant,” said Kuhn.
The goal is to bring the Mobile Hope kids to the farm to learn about the food that ends up on their plates.
“We anticipate bringing our crisis kids, our homeless kids out here to help harvest it, pack it up and deliver it on the bus,” said Fortier.
What seems like a small community effort, Fortier says, means the world to a hungry child.
“In some of the food deserts where we travel, when they see fresh produce — which is something they’re not used to seeing on a regular basis — little kids have cried. It’s really humbling to know we’re able to help distribute that,” said Fortier.
Mobile Hope has served 200,000 people in the community. JK Community Farm has over 4,000 volunteers plant and harvest produce each year.