Community Market

This semester was the first of Community Market. Our goals for this club was to create a social student group out of members of the food pantry and soup kitchen. This group would be committed to expanding and improving the services at the Ford Hall Food Pantry. Community Market has been successful in fulfilling this mission. The group has aided in the efficiency of data collection, as required by New York State, and has innovated quicker and more comprehensive forms of acquiring this data. Members of Community Market assessed that the food pantry needed to improve its distribution of donated non-clothing items such as baby food, books, and children’s toys. Students saw that much of the difficulty in distribution came from a lack of visibility, especially given covid regulations no longer allowing clients inside the building. In order to promote our baby food we simply implemented a measure in which if a client wrote in collected demographic data that they had a child, they would be asked if they would like baby food. Similarly, Community Market decided to lead a table outside of the Ford Hall Food Pantry during operating hours that specifically promoted books, especially children’s books. Seeing how much more popular children's books were among clients, this semester’s group project included a Toy Giveaway in which students brought donated toys from the Ford Hall Food Pantry into Morningside Park and led a table to give them to the children there. The event was extremely successful. As Community Market continues into next semester, we are interested in increasing the group’s size, expanding the use of secondary questions following demographic data (such as to seniors if items which would be helpful or specialized for older people were donated, ex: canes, mobile medical alert systems), and organizing a greater frequency and range of special events such as the Toy Giveaway.