On a hot spring Saturday on Towhee Drive in Apex, Isabella rode her new pink bike for the first time. Her brother and sister cheered her on as she passed by, streamers fluttering. Isabella’s bike was just one of many given out by The Peak Church’s Bike Ministry at the first Pop-up Farmers Market by Western Wake Crisis Ministry in collaboration with Fiesta Cristiana’s Family Resource Center.
As Isabella rode, 20 or so neighborhood residents milled about a shady area nearby, checking out other resources.
The market had a bit of a carnival feel as balloons bobbed in the breeze, children enjoyed ice cream, and friendly people called out to attendees from beneath tents – but they were offering information on resources, not a chance to win gigantic stuffed bears.
The goal of the pop-up was to increase outreach to the community. “We wanted to let folks know what services we provide and learn more about what needs the community has,” said Beth Bordeaux, WWCM Executive Director. “We realize the best way to provide assistance or support is through relationships,” she said. “Going to their neighborhood was a way of building relationship.”
The pop-up offered about a dozen resource tables from partner organizations: Apex Police Department, Citizens Assisting Police in Apex, Wake County 2020 Census, Simple Gifts Community Garden of Apex United Methodist Church, Fiesta Cristiana Family Resource Center, Immigration Services of Apex United Methodist Church, Wake County Human Services, White Oak Foundation, and Resources for Seniors.
While children checked out the line of bicycles from The Peak Church Bike Ministry and ate treats from Fresh Local Ice Cream, their parents worked with Citizens Assisting Police in Apex to print ID cards, picked up information from other tables, and filled bags with fresh produce. WWCM’s table up front was loaded with pineapples, tomatoes, bags of rice, baked goods, canned goods, cereal, and more.
One mom who showed up cradling a weeks-old infant was asked what she liked most about the pop-up. “Everything!” she exclaimed, looking around with a smile. She had received an ID card for her older son and learned more about Apex United Methodist Church’s Immigration Services.
Ines Freile, Coordinator of Fiesta Cristiana’s Family Resource Center, helped choose the neighborhood for the pop-up. “This is a very good thing for the community,” she said. Many of them might be familiar with some of the resources, but this was a chance to get information all at once.
Bordeaux said about half of the attendees probably already knew about WWCM, but she was excited about the new connections made. The idea for the pop-up came as WWCM’s outreach team, which is made up of volunteers, brainstormed ways to directly connect with folks in their neighborhoods. It was a great success, Bordeaux said.
“We are already planning another one in August and possibly another in September or October. Locations are still in the planning phase, but we will work to identify neighborhoods where we have a relationship or some of our community partners have relationships that we can help grow.”