Market at Cedar Point is Paying it Forward
This blog post is sharing and highlighting the article, Market at Cedar Point uses Donations to Provide Groceries to Needy, by Brad Rich of the Carteret News-Times and is posted here with permission. Here is the link to the original article.
CEDAR POINT — The Market at Cedar Point is being swamped – by people shopping and by folks donating money and gift cards to help buy food.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Eustace
Mary Miller, one of the owners of the business at 1046 Highway 24, said the market announced last week it would let people who have lost their jobs due to novel coronavirus pandemic shop for groceries on credit.
“Pay us back when you can,” she said at the time.
So far, credit hasn’t been necessary.
“As of today,” Ms. Miller said Monday, “we haven’t lost anything out of our pockets, because so many people have been donating or buying gift cards to help out all of these people who have lost jobs. So far, people don’t have to pay anything back.
“It’s been crazy, so many people are helping,” she continued. “This community is amazing; it always rises to help people, every time. Every day, we get gift cards and donations. We’re going to do this as long as we can. It might shut us down, but we’re going to do it as long as we can.”
The last time the market, which has been open for about five years, did this was in December 2018 and January 2019, when a federal budget showdown between President Donald Trump and Congress resulted in a government shutdown that temporarily furloughed many federal employees, including U.S. Coast Guard officers in the area.
“This time is so much different,” Ms. Miller said of the coronavirus job losses. “It’s affecting so many people. A lot more than the government shutdown.”
This time, she noted, it’s people from all walks of life, and everyone who gets help at the market is extremely grateful. Many people have volunteered to help keep the market properly sanitized and ensure customers practice social distancing under federal, state and local government guidelines.
Ms. Miller stressed the sales are not “free food.”
Currently, people’s donations are paying for it, and if demand continues to grow, that might not be enough and the market might have to go back to credit and ask people to repay the business when possible.
She also stressed the intent is not to let people come in and get hundreds of dollars’ worth of food at one time.
“It’s intended to be for ‘essentials’ that people need to get by,” she said. “At some point, we might have to put on a $100 limit.”
The market is considered an “essential business” under the state’s stay-at-home order, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, so it won’t have to close.
It buys a variety of produce, meat, fish and other edibles and beverages from farmers and vendors and is scrambling to keep up with demand.
“We (she and her husband and co-owner Jeff Miller) are on the computer and on the phone constantly trying to get products to keep up with what people need,” Ms. Miller said.
“It’s just incredible the amount of hardship that’s out there right now. We started this not really knowing how many people were going to be affected. But the needs have just kept growing,” she continued.
To make donations to help others or to see what foods the market has available, visit the facility or go the market’s Facebook page, facebook.com/MarketAtCedarPoint/.
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