Pop up market

What to expect at a Pop-Up Market

10/Jul/20 / 17:00

Here at the Food Bank, we are taking extraordinary measures to ensure the safety our staff, volunteers and neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like you, we have social distancing and protective practices at top of mind. That’s one of the reasons why we started Pop-Up Markets – the socially distant way to get food to thousands of our neighbors.

Transitioning to a new model is exciting, but it takes some getting used to! As we all adapt to our new system, here’s what you can expect from a Pop-Up Market:


What is a Pop-Up Market?


Pop-Up Markets are one aspect of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know the need for food has grown greatly in our community throughout the past few months. It is our mission to serve as many of our neighbors as possible in a safe and secure way during these uncertain times, and Pop-Up Markets allow us to do just that. They are drive-thru food distributions where anyone can come and get boxes of healthy and nutritious groceries while maintaining safe distancing. Pop-Up Markets are here to serve anyone who may need a little extra support during these times.


How does a Pop-Up Market work?


A Pop-Up Market works like a drive-thru. First, find a Pop-Up Market near you by checking out our calendar. Plan your route, make sure you have room in your car for groceries, and drive out to the distribution site. Once you arrive, our volunteers will help you navigate to the appropriate line. While you’re waiting, a member of our team will ask you (from a safe social distance!) how many households you are picking up for and where in your car you would like groceries to be placed. A small, washable mark will be placed on your windshield to indicate your answers. When you get to the front of the line, our volunteers will read the mark on your windshield, and place the requested amount of groceries in the appropriate area of your car. Once you’ve received your groceries, you can pull away and bring them home to stock your fridge, freezer or pantry.


What kind of safety precautions are being taken?


Safety is our top priority at these distributions. All volunteers and staff working on site will be required to sign a Volunteer & Visitor Health Statement, wear a mask, and comply with social distancing guidelines. We will have protective gloves and hand sanitizer on site for our volunteers and staff. The drive-thru process does mean you will have to roll your window down to speak with someone, but this will be done from a safe distance; the rest of the process is entirely contactless. We will load your groceries into your car for you, and you will not have to worry about getting out of your car or touching any products until you get home. Your safety and the safety of our volunteers and staff will remain our top priority at every distribution.


Do I need to bring anything to be able to get food?


No – we do not require you to bring any kind of documentation to get food. Our Pop-Up Markets are open to anyone in need of a little extra support, and all groceries are 100% free. If you are picking up groceries for multiple households, just tell our staff when they come to your window, and we will mark your windshield accordingly.


What kind of food can I get at a Pop-Up Market?


At Pop-Up Markets, you will receive pre-packed boxes of groceries. Currently we are distributing boxes of fresh produce, protein, dairy products, shelf-stable items and more. The contents and availability of each box varies, and we can’t guarantee certain food items at any given distribution.


How are Pop-Up Markets different than typical food distributions?


Pop-Up Markets are different from typical food distributions in a few ways. They operate using a drive-thru model, so you will never have to step out of your car to get food. By having volunteers place boxes of groceries into your car, we eliminate person-to-person contact and make sure everyone can keep a proper distance. The grocery boxes are pre-packed, so you will receive all of the items within the boxes. The contents and availability of each box varies, and we can’t guarantee certain food items at any given distribution. While it is always our goal to have neighbors choose their own groceries at distributions, pre-packed boxes are the safest option at this time. We miss being able to talk with and get to know our community during distributions, but for now person-to-person interactions will continue to be limited as we work to keep everyone safe.


Where can I find out about a Pop-Up Market near me?


Check out our Pop-Up Market calendar to find a distribution coming to a county near you. This calendar is updated frequently, so please check back for future locations, times and dates! We also post frequently about Pop-Up Markets on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Can I volunteer at a Pop-Up Market?


Yes – we’d love to have you join us! You can view current volunteer openings on our volunteer calendar. All volunteers will be asked to sign our Volunteer & Visitor Health Statement upon arrival. We will have protective gloves and hand sanitizer on site for our volunteers, and ask that you bring your own mask. We are closely following CDC guidelines on social distancing and masks to ensure your safety and the safety of those you are serving.


How long will Pop-Up Markets last?


We know that increased need caused by the pandemic will continue for many months to come. It is our goal to always keep our neighbors’ plates full. We currently have Pop-Up Markets scheduled into August of 2020, and anticipate that they will continue throughout the fall. Always check the Pop-Up Market calendar to see our scheduled distributions. You can also find food through our network of food pantries and partners.

For any additional questions, please check out our Pop-Up Market FAQ page.

Whether we are in times of crisis or not, we will always continue to work our hardest to keep our community safe and hunger-free. If you or someone you know could use a little extra support at this time, we encourage you to visit us at a Pop-Up Market near you!

How You Can Help:


  • Volunteer at one of our Centers in Geneva, Rockford or Park City sorting and packing food
  • Donate to help us solve hunger in your community – every $1 donated helps provide $8 of groceries.

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