December Impact & January News
January 4th, 2024
Happy 2024, Friends of Community Markets Inc.!
As we welcome the new year, the staff and board of CMI express our gratitude to each of you for a wonderful and impactful 2023 and look ahead to 2024 with hopeful anticipation. CMI ended last year by releasing its first Impact Report. This email is the first monthly email which highlights CMI’s impact and notable items from the previous month and looks at what’s ahead in the coming weeks. Your feedback is valuable – so let us know what you think!
As you read December’s highlights and especially the impact of the Feliz Navidad Fest, take notice that your support for CMI doesn’t simply make local food more accessible and increase food security in WV, but it has health and wellness implications for real families in our community and economic benefits to local farmers and family businesses leading to people living happier and more fulfilling lives and wealth being built in our community – and this is only the beginning!
CMI is poised to expand its ability to serve our community in 2024, especially our most vulnerable families. So I ask you, friend: What will you do to increase food security and local food access in your community in 2024? Join us! Donate monthly or once. Volunteer. Forward this email to a friend. Host/organize a fundraiser to help CMI buy a larger refrigerated trailer. Like CMI on Facebook. What can you do? Do something, however small, for if we can’t feed the whole world, at least feed one person. One person is significant. You may be surprised to find out that that one person is your neighbor.
– Mark Peiffer | Director
December 2023 Highlights
– The Community Markets Inc. 2023 Impact Report was published days before Christmas, summarizing CMI’s first two and a half years or so of existence. Please take a few minutes to review it. It can be read and downloaded HERE.
– Our refrigerated trailer received a makeover with the help of Vital Signs Plus (pictures HERE). We’re very pleased with the professional and efficient job done by the Vital Signs team and grateful for UniCare’s partnership which made this possible!
– CMI partnered with the Jefferson County Health Department, Corner Connection, and other community organizations to put on the first ever Feliz Navidad Fest! 108 Christmas Dinners were distributed to Hispanic families,feeding over 275 people, 112 of which were children. 2,600 lbs. of healthy food was distributed from local farms along with a few hundred lbs. of shelf-stable pantry staples and over $3,850 was paid to local farmers. Also, 12 Volunteers put in 35 hours to make the event possible. We love our volunteers! Thank you! You can read The Journal’s coverage of the event HERE.
– The GIANT Company made a $5,000 donation to CMI to help feed families with nutritious food this winter. The money will be invested back into the local Martin’s Grocery Store in Charles Town, WV and the food be distributed to needy families at upcoming Food Box Giveaways. Thank you GIANT/Martin’s for your partnership! Read GIANT’s press release HERE.
Community Markets Inc. is grateful for GIANT/Martin’s and all our community partners!
– The Saint Isidore Market closed out the year with a special Christmas Market which saw the highest number of preorders and overall sales than any other Market all year! The community response was tremendous! There were 124 Preorders placed online at the Saint Isidore Market Website in December, $5,661.22 paid to Local Farmers and Producers, and $1,706.51 paid to Cottage Industry Vendors, Artisans, and Upstart Family Businesses. This is money going right to farmers and families living in our community so they can put their kids through college, pay off their mortgage, and invest in their retirement. This money stays local, helping create community wealth and better West Virginian communities, not national or international corporate agendas that don’t care for our community like we do. Neighbors buying from neighbors – this is how we can better our families’ and community’s future!
– Thank you to those who made year end donations to feed more families! You know who you are. Your generosity is much appreciated! Forgot to make your year end donation? Make Your Gift Now.
Bags of local milk, eggs, lettuce, butter, cheese, eggnog and other farm fresh foods await distribution to Appalachian families at CMI’s Food Box Giveaway during Feliz Navidad Fest in Charles Town, WV this past December.
Upcoming Events and Notable Items
– CMI’s next Food Box Giveaway is on Saturday, January 13th from 8-1:30 pm (while supplies last) at St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town, WV. It will happen in concurrence with St. James’ annual St. Martin of Tours Clothing Giveaway. The first 200 families will receive a box of farm fresh food sourced from local farms. Volunteers and Food Donations are needed! More info and the event flyer is HERE.
– The Saint Isidore Market will open for the winter season in the library of St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town starting Thursday, January 11th from 5-6:30 pm. Online Ordering will begin HERE Tomorrow, Friday, January 5th at 9 am through Tuesday, January 9th at noon for pickup at the Market on the 11th. Shop local and affordable this winter with prices comparable or better than the grocery store yet higher quality food.
– CMI and Saint Isidore Market bumper stickers and magnets are now available by donation. Contact me if you’re interested in showing your CMI support!
– Be on the lookout later this month for announcements and new resources from Community Markets Inc. It’s going to be a great 2024!
For those who have read this far with any level of attention, I appreciate you! Now I renew my question: What will YOU do to increase food security and local food access in your community in 2024? What you do or don’t do makes a difference. Don’t let inaction be your response. Take action now to help our community today and better our future!
CMI Welcomes Two AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Community Markets Inc. (CMI) welcomed two AmeriCorps VISTA Members last week for a year-long term of service. The Charles Town based local food nonprofit hired Elizabeth “Ellie” George and Brett Hozdic to serve as AmeriCorps VISTA Members through October 2024. Both VISTA Members will spend the next twelve months increasing CMI’s capacity to feed more hungry Appalachian families, support West Virginian farmers, and increase food security in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. CMI serves as a host site for the VISTA program managed by West Virginia’s Promise, the Alliance for Youth, a local organization that improves the lives of young people through its programs. “We’re really excited to have Brett and Ellie serve with Community Markets Inc. for the next year” commented Program Manager Mark Peiffer, “They have a lot of energy and ideas to bring to the table to help us feed more people.” George, a WV native, got her start with CMI as a volunteer at a Food Box Giveaway which led to part time work and now a full year of civil service as CMI’s Outreach Coordinator. She spent the previous year serving another AmeriCorps term of service with Potomac Valley Audubon Society. Hozdic, a recent graduate of Shepherd University with a degree in graphic design, served with CMI earlier this year as a AmeriCorps Summer VISTA. He returns ready to serve his community for another year as CMI’s Communications Specialist. “We’re very optimistic about what Community Markets Inc. will accomplish in the coming year, but we need more dedicated volunteers and strong community partners to work alongside us.” Anyone interested in volunteering with Community Markets Inc. should email Ellie at email@example.com.
Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need. To learn more or make a donation, please visit www.communitymarketsinc.org and like CMI’s Facebook page.
AmeriCorps VISTA Members Ellie George and Brett Hozdic display a banner with the Community Markets Inc. logo on it while posing in front of CMI’s refrigerated trailer.
Community Markets Inc. Awarded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Foundation Grant
August 23, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Foundation. The grant will fund CMI’s Food Box Giveaway Program which feeds food insecure Appalachian families with healthy food grown by West Virginian farmers at no cost to the recipients. “CMI is thrilled to partner with Cracker Barrel Foundation to help provide nutritious food to those who need it,” stated CMI Program Manager Mark Peiffer. “Companies and nonprofits make a greater impact when working together to tackle tough community issues like food insecurity. CMI is always looking for more community partners to feed those in need.” Begun in September 2022, the Food Box Giveaway Program has fed thousands of food insecure people in Jefferson County and surrounding counties with hundreds of food boxes featuring fresh produce sourced from local farms. Next month, on Tuesday September 12, a one-year anniversary Food Box Giveaway will be held in partnership with Saint James the Greater Catholic Church and United Way of the Eastern Panhandle. The Giveaway will be part of United Way’s annual Day of Caring service event. Those wishing to donate food or money, volunteer, or participate are encouraged to contact Mark Peiffer directly.
To learn more about Community Markets Inc. and the Food Box Giveaway Program email Mark Peiffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.communitymarketsinc.org. Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need.
Photo by Angela Durkin from The Journal
Community Markets Inc. and UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia Partner to Increase Access to Fresh Local Produce Across the State, Eastern Panhandle
August 21, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) has been awarded a $45,000 Community Investment Grant from UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia (UniCare), establishing a partnership that will increase the availability of farm fresh, locally grown produce to food deserts in West Virginia. CMI will use the grant to purchase a truck and refrigerated trailer to establish mobile farmers markets and food distributions in ten West Virginian counties, of which eight counties are in the Eastern Panhandle.
“Community Markets Inc. is very grateful to UniCare for investing in our West Virginian farmers so that healthy food grown in our beloved Mountain State is readily available to food insecure Appalachian families,” CMI Program Manager Mark Peiffer commented. “We are excited for this opportunity to serve our community and look forward to the impact that our partnership with UniCare will have.”
CMI and UniCare will partner with local organizations to hold a Food Box Giveaway in 10 counties, and two weekly mobile farmers markets in Jefferson County. UniCare’s investment in Community Markets Inc. is a commitment to promoting local food and the concept of ‘food as medicine’, which underscores the belief that a nutritious diet is the foundation of effective preventive healthcare. Food security and health are inextricably linked. The lack of access to nutritious foods can have serious, long-term effects on health and well-being, and it can make managing existing chronic conditions more difficult for people facing hunger. Together, CMI and UniCare will work together to bring local food and health services to West Virginian families.
“Everyone deserves access to nutritious, healthy food, and it remains UniCare’s priority to support initiatives that reduce food insecurity and improve the whole health of our communities,” said Tadd Haynes, President, UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia. “Through our partnership with Community Markets Inc., we will continue to break down barriers and create innovative solutions that leave no one hungry or malnourished. Together, we’re working to cultivate a healthier, more equitable West Virginia where everyone can thrive, reach their full potential, and enjoy a life of dignity and well-being.”
About Community Markets Inc.
To learn more about Community Markets Inc. contact Mark Peiffer at email@example.com or by visiting www.communitymarketsinc.org.
Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need.
About UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc.
UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc., serves more than 180,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries living in West Virginia. UniCare has served Medicaid beneficiaries in West Virginia since 2003 and WVCHIP members in 2021. For more information about UniCare, visit unicare.com/wv and follow the company on Facebook @UniCareWV and Twitter @UniCareWV.
Manchin, Capito Support CDS Request
July 24, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) is pleased to announce that its Congressionally Directed Spending Request was included in the fiscal year 2024 Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The request, known as a Congressional Earmark, enjoyed support from both Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “Community Markets Inc. is thrilled to see investment in our West Virginian farmers and Appalachian families who need greater access to locally sourced food,” Program Manager Mark Peiffer said. “Senators Manchin and Capito understand the need for strong local food systems in our state and how important it is for communities to grow their own food, and for that we are very grateful.” The amount appropriated for the Local Food Access Program is $187,000 which Community Markets Inc. will use to feed food insecure families, support West Virginian farmers, and increase access to healthy and locally grown food. “CMI is committed to getting as many resources as possible down to the ground level, directly impacting our farmers and hungry families,” Peiffer explained. Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need. The Local Food Access Program makes fresh food grown by West Virginian farmers available through a number of means, including an online e-Commerce store and mobile farmers markets. To learn more about Community Markets Inc. and the Local Food Access Program please contact Program Manager Mark Peiffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 789-1879 or by visiting www.communitymarketsinc.org.
Community Markets Inc. Is Hiring!
July 19, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) announced today that it is seeking a dedicated individual to serve as a year-long AmeriCorps VISTA. The Charles Town-based nonprofit organization is seeking an individual who wants to feed thousands of hungry Appalachian families, support local farmers, and increase food security in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. “We’re looking for someone who can engage the community and excite people to join the local food movement which is growing here in West Virginia.” Stated Mark Peiffer, Program Manager for CMI. “We’re at the point here at the nonprofit where we need someone to work alongside me to draw attention to and address the needs of food insecure families and farmers in our area.” The full-time position will involve working in an office context as well as being out in the community running mobile farmers markets and food distributions, conducting community outreach, and fundraising through grant writing and other means to name some of the duties of the position. The VISTA will receive a bimonthly stipend as well as an education award at the end of the term of service. The position will start in September and conclude in September 2024. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact Mark Peiffer at email@example.com or (703) 789-1879. Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need. To learn more please visit www.communitymarketsinc.org/news.
July 18, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) was generously awarded $10,000 of ARPA funding from the City of Charles Town last night at City Hall. The $10k award will help purchase a refrigerated trailer which will be used to expand Community Markets Inc.’s food security and local food access programs. These programs, the Food Box Giveaway and Local Food Access Programs, have fed thousands of hungry Appalachian families in West Virginia with fresh food grown by local farmers and made healthy and local food available to Eastern Panhandle communities. The refrigerated trailer will also allow CMI to start additional mobile farmers markets around the Eastern Panhandle beginning in Jefferson County. The award is contingent on an additional $30,000 being fundraised by CMI before July 1, 2024. If the funds are not raised, the $10k will need to be returned to the City. Please make a donation of any amount today to help more food insecure families receive healthy food grown by West Virginian farmers by visiting www.communitymarketsinc.org/donate. Checks can be made payable to Community Markets Inc. and mailed to 203 S George St Charles Town, WV 25414. Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need. For more information please contact Program Manager Mark Peiffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.communitymarketsinc.org.
January Food Box Giveaway Summary
July 18, 2023 – Community Markets Inc. (CMI) was generously awarded $10,000 of ARPA funding from the City of Charles Town last night at City Hall. The $10k award will help purchase a refrigerated trailer which will be used to expand Community Markets Inc.’s food security and local food access programs. These programs, the Food…