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Thorold seniors tackle food insecurity with affordable produce market

The Thorold Senior Citizens Association has teamed up with United Way to make fresh produce affordable again; 'This is not about making big bucks'

No one in Thorold should go hungry because they can no longer afford fresh groceries.

That’s why the Thorold Senior Citizens Association has teamed up with United Way to put on an affordable fresh produce market every other Saturday.

“The produce is really for the community,” explains the association’s president Brenda Bator, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “It’s at an inexpensive pricing and it helps our seniors as well. Any extra money we make, we use to do anything else for the community.”

Most of the produce on sale comes straight from nearby farms.

“[United Way] assists us with getting some of the produce,” says Bator. “Some of it we pay for, some of it they pay for and some of the produce we get for free.”

Any food that’s left over at the end of the day gets donated to Community Care Thorold.

“This is not about making big bucks,” Bator says. “This is about making enough money to pay for it so we can give it back to the community.”

The rising prices everywhere have hit Thorold seniors especially hard, says Bator.

“They don’t have the extra money they had before,” she says. “It’s just much more difficult now.  This is helping them because they’re getting reasonably priced food. They’re not going to get cheap prices like this in the stores.”

The market coincides with the trunk sale the assocation has been putting on since June. 

“Every weekend it just started to grow,” Bator says. “We’ll be here probably right through October doing the produce market.”

The success of the event marks a clear sea change for the Thorold Senior Citizens Association.

“The pandemic came and that just hurt everybody,” says Bator. “Thank God for the city because they kept us going. Now we’re getting more volunteers all the time. We’re actually in the black and that’s a wonderful thing for us.”

To keep up with demand, the association is also expanding its programming.

“We’re doing all kinds of things,” says Bator. “We’re not just sitting around and knitting. People seem to think that’s all that the seniors do. We are going to try to make this a one-stop shop. Everything senior will be in this building.”

There’s only one rule when it comes to the association’s activities: they have to benefit the local community first and foremost.

“I’m a Thorold girl so for me it’s important,” Bator says. “All my life this community gave to me and now it’s my turn to give back."

The fresh produce market and trunk sale takes place at the Thorold Seniors’ Centre on Carlton St., every other Saturday between 8.45 a.m. and 1 p.m. The next scheduled date for the market is Aug. 19.