New neighborhood market run by teens helping feed hungry residents with free groceries

The new neighborhood market on the 5200 block of Walton Avenue in West Philadelphia is run by nonprofit YEAH Philly.

Christie Ileto Image
Monday, November 6, 2023
New neighborhood market run by teens helping feed hungry residents with free groceries
New neighborhood market in West Philadelphia run by teens from YEAH Philly helping feed hungry residents with free groceries

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A newly-opened neighborhood market offers free groceries three times a week, but its biggest value is the lesson it's teaching the young people staffing it.

It's run by teens, but serves everyone in the community.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, teens like Kiarah Cropper-Stukes are feeding residents of West Philadelphia on the 5200 block of Walton Avenue. The new neighborhood market is run by nonprofit Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout, also known as YEAH Philly.

"It's definitely a joy to be able to connect with other teens in the area through this program," she said.

The market is staffed and operated by teens. In it's first two weeks, they've served 300 people.

"When we started, young people identified food insecurity as a need in Cobbs Creek and West Philadelphia, and wanted to give out food," said Kendra Van de Water, cofounder of YEAH Philly.

During the pandemic, the teens handed out food along street corners. But once the nonprofit found a permanent location, they transformed an abandoned garage into the market.

The produce comes from local farms and other partners and the rest is purchased by the nonprofit.

"Its important because we're definitely in a food desert. There's a lot of people who shop at corner stores, priced really high, but also we get to provide permanent jobs to young people," said Van de Water.

"Last week for the first time, I did inventory stock," said Kiarah. "I had to write numbers down of how much stuff we had here, and how to divide that up, and give that out and stuff like that."

The market is helping teens learn life lessons, while changing the narrative of their community through service and action.