For Volunteers and Shoppers, Joyful Food Markets Change Lives
Our first year of Joyful Food Markets was a massive success! We distributed 550,000 pounds of food to over 24,000 shoppers—but the numbers only tell half the story. These markets are putting fresh produce and healthy groceries into the homes of families who lack access, empowering them to make healthy choices. And they’re quickly becoming one of the coolest ways in D.C. for volunteers to give back!
One of those volunteers is Joy Stevenson, Career Success Coordinator at Potomac Job Corps (PJC). She recognized the need for healthy food access in Wards 7 and 8 and wanted to get involved. Every month,
she brings a group of young professionals to PJC’s market at Stanton Elementary—and the results have been inspiring. She says her students have called the markets, and the opportunity to give back to neighbors, “life-changing.” One Potomac Job Corps student remarked after a recent visit to Stanton: “Kids are learning their numbers from their fruits and vegetables. They’re learning how to eat properly. They’re getting great recipes. Last time I was I here, they were eating broccoli. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Yet for Joy, the markets are about more than just supporting neighbors in need. As a career counselor, she lauds the market experience for teaching her students interpersonal and customer service skills—two crucial attributes for any young professional. Unsurprisingly, Joy’s students have already pledged to adopt the Stanton Elementary market for another school year. Reflecting on the volunteer experience, she praises the joyful atmosphere of the markets, and the clear expectations for volunteers. “Every week that we come, we know exactly what we need to do. We know how to set it up and break it down. We love the working relationship.”