A new pop up food market will bring provide food for 50 households at no charge this Saturday. (Mk.S/Unsplash)

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church is partnering with Toni’s Kitchen for a pop up food market that will take place the first and third Saturday of each month, starting this Saturday, September 16 at the Charles H. Bullock School parking lot, 55 Washington Street from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

When Rev. Karline Dubuisson was appointed to the church last year, she met with the different ministries to see what goals they had for the community and congregants. She noticed that the men’s ministry was less active compared to the other groups.

“I started meeting with them last year, every month, and trying to figure out what are their needs were and how they can be revived and renewed again, because I heard they were very vibrant before,” Dubuisson said.

Through months of brainstorming, the men decided they wanted to hold a farmer’s market. Originally, the ministry planned to hold the farmer’s market every Sunday after church but faced slight discouragement with the permit process. They put the idea on the backburner until Dubuisson met Anne Mernin, executive director of Toni’s Kitchen. Mernin told Dubuisson how the organization was interested in having a mobile food pantry in Montclair but was short on volunteers. When Dubuisson presented the opportunity to the men they were more than happy for the partnership.

Greg Harewood, a member of the church and the men’s ministry, will be one of the many men that will help serve the community on Saturday. Food for fifty households will be provided and no registration is required, people are more than welcome to show up and choose what they need.

“We are not attacking anybody’s social or economic stance. This is not just about hunger, this is about developing relationships,” Harewood said. 

The partnership is only one piece in the plans the church has to continuously give back to the community. Alongside tackling hunger and food scarcity, the church is also focusing on health and wellness. The St. Mark’s brings in a nutritionist to teach their members about healthy eating and exercise. They also have a program every Friday called “The Mark Yoga” where participants can stretch their limbs and meditate.

As they expand their community services, St. Mark’s welcomes any volunteers and also offers community service credits for Montclair High School students.

“We are inclusive, you don’t have to be a member of the church to serve in the church or in the community,” Harewood said. Dubuisson and Harewood encourage those in need to show up tomorrow with their bags and be ready to receive. 

For updates on this program text “mark” to 855-999-7964.

Leave a comment