A drive thru Pop Up Market was held Wednesday, June 3 in downtown Bryson City, with a line full of cars filling the gravel lot throughout the morning hours. The market is hosted by the Bryson City Presbyterian Church in coordination with MANNA Foodbank.
Dan Manley, lead site coordinator, said the drive thru set up has been successful and more people have been served during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It allows the community to get free food and produce during the crisis that’s going on,” Manley said. “Here, we allot a certain amount of dry goods and produce. Normally, the on-site pop up is a walk through where people pick out the goods they want.”
The pop-up market is hosted the first Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m. Currently, it’s being held as a drive thru event in the GSMR parking lot off Slope Street (just past the post office).
Keeka Grant, with MANNA, said the pre-packed boxes help mitigate contact in response to the health crisis. The boxes, she explained are a mix of dry good and produce with a focus on including a good amount of protein and including items that can be used together to cook a meal. They also try to include a mix of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.
Last week, volunteers included members of the US National Guard.
“We have volunteers from all over the community joining us to do this,” Manley said. “The National Guard has been here the last two times now to assist with food distribution and traffic control.”
He estimates that between 150 and 200 families have been served during the pop ups since the coronavirus quarantine, which is considerably more than the previous numbers.
“It’s really been a great thing,” he said.