MARTI riders will have access to free, fresh fruit and vegetables because of a new Healthy Produce Initiative.
The initiative is from funding from the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas initiative through the Duke Endowment, and the Marlboro Empower Action Team.
Patrick Bines, director of the Northeastern Rural Health Network, said it was an opportunity to address food insecurity in the area.
“We know it is a big need especially due to COVID-19,” he said.
A box containing bags of produce will be placed on the MARTi buses for the next nine weeks through June 30. Community members can take the bags with no questions asked.
We want to make sure that community members not only have access to foods but access to healthy foods.”
In the bag is a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Every week, riders will get a different variety of fruits and vegetables in the produce bag.
Bines said after the nine weeks, officials will look at possibly extending it.
The produce is from McArthur Farms.
Bines said owner Rebecca McArthur was good at allowing them to purchase the produce at a really good price to get out into the community.
Rep. Pat Henegan, who is with the Marlboro Empower Action Team, said they know people are suffering right now.
Parents have told her that their kids are at home and they can’t afford to feed them.
“They can’t do it because they can’t afford it because they don’t have jobs right now,” Henegan said.