HUDSON --- When COVID-19 hit, Pastor Eric and Christine Olson of Cornerstone Church wanted to do something positive for the community.
Fresh Express was born from the desire. The mobile food market provides free food, no questions asked, to anyone in the community in an effort to address food insecurity.
“We know there’s a lot of food insecurity, there’s food deserts for people either because they don’t have a car or because maybe they’re elderly or various reasons,” Christine Olson said. “So we wanted to be able to bring food closer to them.”
The two first started the effort four months ago.
“It has turned into such a great thing," Olson said.
The bus parks on the second and fourth Saturday of the month first at 1201 Livingston Road as and then Mt. Zion Lutheran Church parking lot at 503 13th Street. Fresh Express is at Livingston from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and at Mt. Zion from 1-2:30 p.m.
Those in need of food can make an order online at freshexpresshudson.com for pickup or select items from a list when they arrive.
A stop to pick up food takes about 10-15 minutes, Olson said, and people can wait in their cars.
“We have a little bit of everything, you know, we have dairy and produce and pantry items and frozen meats,” she said. “So it’s really, really good food.”
Fresh Express has partnered with County Market, Second Harvest and the Hudson Food Shelf to receive food to distribute. The nonprofit is also focused on being no waste as much as possible.
The response from the community has been positive, Olson said.
“And God just keeps growing this and expanding and adding new partners all the time,” she said.
Olson hopes the effort will have an impact on the entire community, as well as expand into other areas.
“I don’t want to put any limitations on it,” she said. “I hope that it grows, that we are able to get more buses, that other people will be more involved and we’ll be able to expand much further out.”
When Fresh Express started, Olson said they saw there would be a need in Hudson, especially with the pandemic. Many may be in a position of needing help for the first time, but don’t qualify for certain aid.
“It’s something that you can come to us, we’re not going to ask you questions,” she asid.
As COVID-19 continues, Olson said people are going to need time to recover from economic loss.
“We want to be able to be part of blessing people in our community,” she said.
The effort is open to anyone, Olson emphasized.
“I hope that no one feels like they’re too embarrassed to come. I hope that there’s no limitations for anyone,” she said. “All are welcome.”
Those interested in supporting Fresh Express with time or money can reach out through Facebook or at freshexpresshudson.com.