Two big metal trailers are parked in a warehouse parking lot. Inside, shelves are lined with loaves of bread, boxes of pasta and rows of canned goods. Freezers and a refrigerator hold things like milk and ground turkey.
"We also provide fresh vegetables. So right now we have squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and onions and peppers, etc.," said Latoya Mallard with ONE Charlotte Health Alliance, a partnership between Atrium Health, Novant and the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
Beginning in February, these new food trailers will make regular visits to three Charlotte churches in neighborhoods with few grocery stores that offer fresh and healthy foods: River Church, Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church and Northeast Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
"If you do not have access to healthy, nutritious food, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables, produce, things of that nature, then you're more susceptible to developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high levels of sugar," said cardiologist Dr. Jerome Williams, Jr.
He said he thinks of food as medicine.
Anyone can get a referral from their doctor, social worker or church leader and shop at the pantry for eight weeks. The selection of food items are culled by a registered food dietician to include all five food groups. At one end of the trailer, a ONE Charlotte Health Alliance employee will be available to consult with shoppers about foods most helpful to improve a range of health conditions.
The food is provided by Loaves & Fishes and Second Harvest Food Bank.