In the early hours of Saturday morning, as the sun rises on yet another hot and muggy Virginia summer day, you’ll find Judy Kim and her daughters Audra (16) and Emmalyn (14) hard at work to get the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) Community Marketplace ready to open. This is a farmers market, like many others you’ll find throughout the area, but one with a huge difference:  the Community Marketplace provides fresh fruit and vegetables at no cost to financially-qualified families. Donations come from farmers, local grocery stores, local restaurants, and is organized by CAFB.  Judy points out, “These aren’t seconds or leftovers, but fresh and wholesome goods.”  Additional support for the Mobile Marketplace comes from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and Live Healthy. Volunteers come together in Reston, on the second Saturday of every month.

Judy and her daughters have volunteered their energies to the Community Marketplace for over a year.  Judy serves as Team Captain, organizing the set up and assigning duties to corps of dedicated volunteers.  Set-up time is short as families begin to queue up as early as eight o’clock.   On a good day, more than 250 households may be served.

Audra and Emmalyn’s volunteering efforts have not gone unnoticed; both received the silver Presidential Volunteer Service Award each serving 75 hours or more.

Qualified customers for The Marketplace donations receive a grocery tag that allows them access. “A woman once actually came to me to return her card,” Judy said.  “She realized she was over the income limit and no longer qualified.  She took the time to come back to us to return her grocery tag.  When you find someone that honest and genuine, it warms you.”

“I just love this!” Judy adds, “It gives the three of us a chance to work as a family on something truly positive.  What’s also important to me is that Audra and Emmalyn get the opportunity to interact with a really diverse group of people. Rather than merely delivery food donation to a distribution center, we get to see and talk with the actual recipients.  It’s an amazing person-to-person experience.”

Volunteer Fairfax salutes the Kim family for their community service and efforts to solve hunger.

To get involved with the Mobile Marketplace or another evening-and-weekend project like it, register for a Volunteers for Change orientation today.