Park-It Market – An Innovative Solution to Senior Food Insecurity

PIM2 Photo resizedApril is Senior Hunger Awareness Month which calls attention to the fact that for many seniors who are on a fixed income, food insecurity is an ongoing worry.

In Orange County, older adults are the fastest-growing demographic – the county currently has about 495,000 residents aged 65 or older, roughly 15.7% of the total population. By 2050, the county’s 65-and-up crowd is expected to nearly double, to 926,000, or 28% of the total.

This creates a “silver tsunami” of aging residents who are deeply vulnerable to poverty due to fixed incomes. These residents often have to make sacrifices in their food budget for bigger, more immediate needs like housing and medication.

Second Harvest is providing a solution to the ever-present existence of senior food insecurity by rolling right up to the doorstep at senior communities throughout Orange County to provide free, nutritious food through a pair of walk-up, refrigerated “Park-It Markets” (PIMs) housed in trailers that allows residents to socialize and mingle as they select the products of their choice.

This approach provides a response to three significant issues seniors face:

  1. Food/nutritional insecurity (often arising from fixed incomes)
  2. Lack of/limited mobility
  3. Loneliness

When first introduced in 2018, the first Park-It Market (PIM 1) was the first of its kind in the nation. Now we have a second proof-of-concept vehicle, Park-It Market 2 (PIM 2), which is affectionately named “Granny’s Market” in honor of the mother whose family foundation’s generous contribution helped to launch it.

This program allows recipients to gather together and “shop” for their own nutritious items, including lean protein, dairy, eggs, locally grown vegetables and fruit. Additionally, the Park-It Markets are on a consistent weekly schedule so seniors can look forward to it arriving and have a routine.

Park-It Markets 1 and 2 serve approximately 2,500 adults above age 60 each month.

We rely on volunteers to help load the Park-It Markets at our Distribution Center in Irvine before they hit the road! If you are interested in registering for a volunteer shift, visit