"Am I my brother's keeper?" asked Abraham Williams, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green (HABG) EnVision Center, to the large crowd before him to announce the new Mobile Grocery Store for the community. The HABG recently hosted an informational luncheon with more than 100 community stakeholders present for the announcement. Standing at the podium and addressing the diverse crowd, Williams asked prominent faith-based, business, and government leaders for their financial commitments for the initiative. In less than 5 minutes, he had garnered over $10,000 in pledges reaching 25 percent of their initial goal of $40,000.
HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett and other HUD staff were in attendance to celebrate and congratulate Williams and his staff.
"Abraham is following the model that Dr. Carson believes strongly in by treating the whole person in order for them to become successful," said Cleveland-Leggett.
The event highlighted the overall need for access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as the HABG sits in a food desert as designated by USDA. The dire need was further illustrated with testimony from a long-time elderly resident, as well as, a video that documented the over 3-hour long process that a resident must endure taking public transportation to get to the local grocery store and back.
Further, residents often pay up to 3 times the cost of some goods when shopping at a nearby convenience store. The new mobile grocery will help remedy this by visiting HABG sites and other low-income neighborhoods in Bowling Green to offer affordable groceries, including fresh produce grown at HABG. More than 90 residents were surveyed and almost everyone said that they would utilize the Mobile Grocery Store at least once weekly.
A 34-passenger bus was donated by the Warren County Public Schools and was converted into the Mobile Grocery Store. This endeavor is made possible entirely through community support and is especially embraced by area faith-based organizations.
Last year, HABG was designated a HUD EnVision Center.