- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - An organization in the Quad Cities is loading up a truck with produce and setting up temporary shop in more than a dozen locations to help residents get access to fresh food.

The Veggie Mobile will focus on bringing fresh produce from local providers to neighborhoods defined as “food deserts,” according to the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1rHxwYj ). Those are areas far from supermarkets, where residents must travel long distances to buy healthy food.

Among the 15 stops are locations in Davenport, Bettendorf and the Illinois cities of Moline and Rock Island.

The group Quad-Cities Food Hub is behind the effort.

Food Hub executive director Carla Jaquet said the effort helps residents as well as local farmers who don’t have the ability to reach areas the truck will visit.

“This is only a start,” Jaquet said. “We need many trucks in many communities, reaching as many people as possible.”

The program was modeled after similar efforts in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Detroit. It’s financed by a $50,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation, Genesis Health System and the Riverboat Development Authority.

When the truck pulls up to a site, workers pull out a metal ramp that lets customers enter the vehicle from the rear. People can buy food with cash, credit cards or electronic bank transfer cards provided by food assistance programs.

On a recent morning in Davenport, Melissa Kendall stopped by the truck with her sons, Jonah and Micah.

Kendall, of Davenport, said she grows vegetables in her garden but appreciates the program.

“It’s nice to see it here, and it’s so convenient,” she said.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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