The following is a transcript of the video above, from our webinar on “Remaking the Economy: Black Food Sovereignty, Community Stories.” View the full webinar here.
Demetrius Hunter: Groceries on Wheels is a program that is operated through our nonprofit. It was inspired by my father, who took a mule and cart full of produce from Johnston County, North Carolina, to Wake County. He rolled a meal [cart] to provide senior citizens in our neighborhood [with] produce. I worked with him and observed the food needs, the systems that were going out, the donations of foods from, say, grocery stores who wanted to get rid of their cakes, two-day-old or three-day-old dessert, or week-old, desserts. And when I saw that, I knew [it was] important to continue the work that my dad did. My dad was a forerunner. He used to pay for food stamps at that time to make sure that people were eating healthy—he also had a loan system.
These things are similar to what the Groceries on Wheels program is doing. We do have the EBT system. We just use the technology to provide the SNAP benefit to our customers. We also have a healthy benefit program, which a couple of insurance companies are operating out of right now—Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, these type of insurance companies. They have a terminal where if you have an insurance card that has the healthy benefits plan, you can use that. So, we’re creating food sovereignty for our customers by ensuring that they are able to use their SNAP benefits cards, their healthy benefit cards from insurance companies. We also have our programs where we distribute out foods to local churches, to the YMCA, and places like that. We’ve expanded on the work that my father did in the late 1970s up until the late to the early 2000s, until he retired. That’s where we are, as far as food sovereignty and ensuring that people have the food that they need.