Where do most New Yorkers get their fresh produce? Odds are it comes through the Hunts Point Produce Market, the world’s largest wholesale produce market located in Bronx, NY. Thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables arrive daily, sourced from local farms and international importers. From there it’s distributed across the region — not only to retailers and restaurants, but also to food pantries, soup kitchens and directly into the hands of hungry people.
Mercy College alumnus and Hunts Point Produce Market CEO Phillip Grant, M.B.A. ’08, is dedicated to ensuring that food insecure students and their families who rely on Mercy College’s Mav Friendly Market food pantry have an ally. Grant, in carrying out Hunts Point Produce Markets mission of giving back, has committed to donating fresh food items to the Mav Friendly Market to benefit those in need who may face additional burdens during a holiday season that is predicted to see an increase in food costs.
Grant’s reasoning for supporting Mercy’s food pantry, besides being a proud alum, is based on its impressive outreach and support of students in the Bronx. “What really struck me was when I saw the Mav Market’s data points” — serving as many as a thousand members and distributing 48,000 meals totaling more than 57,000 pounds of food since its inception. And with about 40 percent of The Markets employees living in the Bronx, “it felt like a good match,” said Grant. “This is our community. We’re a part of it, and Mercy is a part of it. It’s an important relationship.”
Registered members of the Mav Friendly Market, mostly Mercy students and their families, can pick up a bag or two of fresh and nonperishable food, snacks, toiletries and baby supplies. Over the four years it has been in operation, the Mav Friendly Market has grown from a single food pantry on the Bronx Campus to locations at all of Mercy’s Campuses including Dobbs Ferry and Manhattan.
According to Julie Cruickshank, the Mav Friendly Market’s basic needs manager, “Food insecurity is not just about people being hungry. It’s also about obtaining food that’s fresh, nutritious, and of good quality.” It can be a challenge to find fresh produce in traditional food banks, where canned and packaged foods are the norm due to shelf stability. “What the Hunts Point Produce Market has offered the Mav Market means the world to us and our members,” she said.
The Mav Friendly Market welcomes food donations, volunteer services or monetary gifts. To make a donation to the Mav Market, click here. To donate through Amazon wish list, click here. To learn more about the Mav Friendly Market, please click here.