Bounty & Soul hosts drive-thru markets in former Bi-Lo parking lot
Bounty & Soul, a community-based nonprofit in Black Mountain, hosted a drive-thru harvest market on Nov. 23 in preparation for Thanksgiving in the old Bi-Lo parking lot.
"We really did a great job to get a selection of what people could be using for their Thanksgiving meals and also providing recipes that may be a little different than what they typically would do," said Ali Casparian, Bounty & Soul executive director.
The market operated with drivers pulling up to volunteers in line at a variety of different stations. Community members had the option to sample foods and choose from a handful of produce selections for what they'd like to take home.
Through the efforts of numerous volunteers dressed in veggie costumes, Bounty & Soul distributed premade boxes that included sweet potatoes, squash, fresh baked bread from local bakeries and other produce courtesy of local farmers and growers.
Keller Williams partnered with Bounty & Soul to offer turkeys for Thanksgiving. The turkey boxes were to have been delivered along with two additional markets in neighboring communities.
"It's a collaborative effort to get Thanksgiving boxes to more families," Casparian said.
The organization has no eligibility requirements for who can receive boxes, stating that all are welcome. Drive-thru markets at the former Bi-Lo parking lot are 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 4-5:30 p.m. Fridays.
Bounty & Soul works with local farmers and growers in an effort to provide fresh produce to the local community free of charge. Casparian said this particular market included produce boxes with atypical Thanksgiving recipes such as pumpkin hummus or acorn squash soup.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Bounty & Soul was forced to change its operation. From previously hosting various events reaching out to 70-100 families, Casparian said businesses exploded during the pandemic, expanding to roughly 300 times the demand.
The drive-thru model provided the best solution for the nonprofit. Each station of the market offers options for community members to choose what they'd like without having to get out of their cars and mingle with other people.
In the spring, Bounty & Soul staff plan to transition to a hybrid model, having heard feedback from the community from some who enjoy the drive-thru while others miss the interactions of the traditional market.
"It's been COVID safe for the past two years," Casparian said.