Community market serves free food to the hungry in grocery setting

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hunger continues to be a growing problem in the metro area, ever since the pandemic started and many lost their jobs.

A new community market is supplying free food and other necessities to struggling families.

The hunger surge started with job losses, but now higher prices are making it difficult for the working poor to keep enough food on the table.

That’s why Cross Lines Community Outreach has a grocery store setting where families can choose free fresh foods, household cleaners and toiletries.

Located in KCK’s Armourdale neighborhood, struggling families can actually “shop” for what they need with a grocery cart.

Organizers say this is better than a traditional food pantry or food giveaway where people receive a random assortment of groceries they may or may not actually eat.

“We feel that this way they can come in and they feel like they are at the shopping center and they take what they really need,” Marlen Hernandez, Cross Lines Community Market coordinator, said. “Milk, fresh produce, vegetables. If the kid doesn’t like anything and they like peaches instead of pears. They can take more peaches or whatever is their necessities. That’s why we did the transition of giving them a box and making them choose what they really need.”

Cross Lines Community Outreach says one in three children in Wyandotte County is at risk of going hungry.

The store is supplied by Harvesters, Giving the Basics and area church donations.

Cross Lines Community Outreach operated a traditional food pantry before establishing the market.

Last year, the agency served more than 22,000 hungry people.

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