Wellstar Health System and Goodr Partner to Launch Mobile Market Program for At-Risk Families

Staff Report

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Wellstar Health System, one of Georgia’s largest and most integrated healthcare systems, and the Wellstar Center for Health Equity announce a new “Mobile Market” collaboration with Goodr, a community-based organization that provides re-distribution of food resources for people in need. 

The joint initiative will help address food access for vulnerable communities in Wellstar’s service areas. Funded by the Wellstar Foundation, this program enables the health system to provide for vital community needs that impact health and well-being, offering “PeopleCare. More than Healthcare.”

The overall goal of the new Wellstar on Wheels: Mobile Market is to address food insecurity with a routine and reliable food source in the communities served by Wellstar. To that end, the Mobile Market program will provide pop-up farmers markets to address food access and provide a dignified shopping experience that offers healthy, family-friendly food options.

The program launched on November 14 at the Wellstar Development Center, supplying 200 families with 5-7 days’ worth of fresh produce, proteins, dairy products, and shelf-stable items. Clients pre-registered for this program and were able to choose items that are culturally sensitive and appealing to their households. To adhere to the CDC's social distancing measures, Goodr has revamped its traditional pop-up experience to provide a quick, safe way for families to walk or drive through the event and receive free groceries, beverages, and other items. To address the need for accessible COVID-19 testing, the Wellstar Community Health team provided clients with PCR tests in conjunction with the first Mobile Market. 

“Food is another form of medicine. With unemployment impacts, company closures, and the overall health crisis, Wellstar recognizes the immense toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has created,” said Shara Wesley, executive director, Wellstar Center for Health Equity. “We are excited about this collaboration with Goodr to further Wellstar’s mission to improve the health and well-being of the individuals and communities we serve.”

Wellstar and Goodr will continue to introduce this program to other communities in need over the next eight weeks, with the goal of providing more than 1,000 shopping experiences for at-risk families. Those wanting to support the Mobile Market or donate to Wellstar’s greatest needs, including care for vulnerable communities, can make a tax-deductible donation to Wellstar Foundation, where 100% of every dollar goes to work in the community. Donations can be made anytime online and by participating in #GivingTuesday, December 1. As a not-for-profit organization that relies on donations to provide critical services, Wellstar participates in #GivingTuesday to raise awareness for and support vital healthcare and community needs. #GivingTuesday is “a global generosity movement” that encourages people to do good by inspiring them to give, collaborate, and transform their communities.    

“We are thankful for the partnership with Wellstar to help provide access to people who are food insecure,” said Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr. “People simply cannot live a good life without access to healthy food. What makes Goodr different is that we give people dignity and choice, so they have options about the foods they take home. This is more important now than ever, with so many people who are going hungry during the pandemic.” 

To extend the Mobile Market program, in February 2021 seven pilot community-based locations will be identified through an application process. Each site will provide free, fresh, and healthy food options monthly to 100 families in need. Through Wellstar Foundation and vital community funding, Goodr will provide food and staffing support for this program, register participants, and provide impact reporting each month. Wellstar will provide program logistical support, on-site staff resources, participant incentives, nutrition education, and other health services. 

All communities, whether rural, urban, or suburban, are home to families who struggle to supply their family with basic dietary needs. In 2018, across the U.S., 34 million people - including more than 11 million children - lived in food-insecure households. The coronavirus pandemic has worsened this figure and it is estimated that more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children. In the Metro Atlanta area, one in six people suffer from food insecurity, and one in four children go to bed hungry. Providing food access interventions and programs for communities in need is a priority for the healthcare system, with essential support from donors and community partners.