Setting up a ‘mobile social grocery’ where users will pay a low price for products, and may also choose free products, improving accessibility, reducing iscolation and giving families a more ‘human’ experience.
The municipality of Torhout, located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, (population 20 149 in 2012) have historically distributed food to families facing financial difficulties through a food bank. The food bank could only serve a limited number of people, offered only a small range of products, and did not offer a solution for using food surpluses from local traders. As the food bank was not ‘geared to the users’ or accessible to people with mobility problems, it was decided to set up a ‘mobile social grocery’.
This ‘mobile social grocery’ offers a full range of basic products (food and hygiene) to the people in need in the municipality. The grocery makes use of food surpluses from local merchants, amongst others, allowing users to pay a lower than market value price for products and also choose a number of free products. The ‘mobile social grocery’, based in a truck, makes it possible to reach the suburbs of the town, where there was previously no help or services. Apart from offering food, this is an opportunity for customers to interact with a social worker from the Sociaal Huis (social house).
When fully operational the mobile social grocery will be able to support approx 500 people instead of about 150 as before.
The distributed food will be a lot healthier and of better quality.
New jobs will be created.
There will be about 10 local merchants involved in the project, making much better use of their food surpluses.
About eight volunteers (from the same target group) that participate, are being offered a meaningful daytime activity.
About three suburbs will be reached through the new project that wouldn’t otherwise be reached.