Compassion Coalition has a long-standing relationship with Utica Municipal Housing Authority’s senior sites. Their mission is to be a leader in the housing industry by providing safe, clean and affordable housing and promoting self-sufficiency, upward mobility, and customer satisfaction. In November 2017, we partnered with UMHA to open a pop-up grocery store for the elderly residents living in their three buildings. The pop-up takes place each month on-site in Utica.
We came together to start this pop-up because by mid-month, many people have used their allotted SNAP benefits. These individuals, some of whom have health complications and no transportation, can have limited access to food. The pop-up grocery serves as a resource they can use to access fresh, healthy food for the second half of the month. Items generally available at the pop-ups include ground beef, chicken, salads, fruits, vegetables, milk, water, pasta, and yogurt, among other options.
Food insecure seniors have lower nutrient intakes and are more likely to suffer from diabetes, depression, and limitations in activities of daily living among other impacts, per the National Council on Aging.
Chris Pazik, who leads the pop-ups at UMHA, says tenants are in the community rooms anticipating the event half an hour before it occurs. “We have had a great response, and numbers are growing monthly,” Pazik says. “This is the most participated event that happens at these three sites consistently.”