NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Market at THRIVE will be the area’s first free grocery store when it opens on Nettles Drive in Newport News. It will be part of THRIVE Peninsula‘s future headquarters.
THRIVE has outgrown their current space. Now, thanks to a $1.25 million capital campaign, they will double their size. The new location will feature a garden, financial wing and the Market at Thrive. As of today, they are 70% to goal.
In today’s Community Chat, Executive Director Angela York joined Digital Host Sarah Goode to speak about the non-profit and the expansion project. Watch the full conversation in the video player below.
The non-profit serves people in York County, Hampton and Newport News. They offer services to help people struggling financially. They have a food pantry, financial coaching and financial emergency assistance. There are 165 weekly volunteers that work along the small staff to assist the community.
In 2022, they served 18,000 people. A number they are hoping to grow with the new expansion.
THRIVE Peninsula has run a food pantry since the 1980s. Currently, they provide pre-packed groceries to individuals. This includes a week’s worth of food, and takes into account personal food needs and choices.
In the new space, the pantry model will change into the free grocery store, the Market at Thrive.
“In our new place, the goal is it’s 100% clients choice, which means you walk in the free store and you can pick out 100% of your own groceries,” said York. “That gives you dignity. It allows you to pick out food you want and need for your family.”
The market is made possible through Food Lion’s help. They donated $225,000 along with grocery store equipment.
40% of people currently live paycheck to paycheck, according to York. There is a large need for assistance. And, she does not see an end in sight. Last year they received 8,000 requests for financial assistance. Due to funding, they are not able to help with each application, but do their best to help as many as possible.
There is also a stigma present with food insecurity, and asking for help. Something they hope to reduce.
York said 60% of families who don’t know where their next meal is coming from will not visit a food pantry. She hopes the grocery store model will bring people in, and keep them coming back.
Anyone is welcome to use the Market at Thrive. Appointments are required to visit. They hope it will be open by this Thanksgiving.
In addition to the grocery store, the new space will have more room for the community. Expanding upon their current financial coaching services, they will provide workshops to people hoping to learn more.
Right as you arrive at the new space, a raised bed garden will be out front. York said this fits with their motto, “Fresh first”.
For more information on the future plans, click here.
York said the building is for the community. They want their resources to help those in need.
“Our services are really prevention focused. We want families to remain stably housed and employed,” York said. “We want them to have the tools they need to thrive.”
To find out more about THRIVE Peninsula, visit thrivepeninsula.org.