Mobile Grocery Store Provides Much-Needed Food Access in Atlantic City

New Jersey resort city gets access to fresh groceries after 20 years without traditional supermarket
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Virtua's Mobile Grocery Store
Virtua Health's Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store is designed to fill the void in communities without a real supermarket.

After nearly two decades without a full-service supermarket, New Jersey’s popular seaside resort is finally getting access to fresh groceries, albeit in a nontraditional format. 

Virtua Health is providing a refurbished N.J. Transit bus to Atlantic City residents as part of its “Eat Well” program, funded by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).

Although billions of dollars worth of in-person and online gambling gets done in the South Jersey town, Atlantic City is classified as a food desert community. So after plans for a ShopRite in the city fell through earlier this year, N.J. Governor Phil Murphy recently announced that NJEDA is committing over $5.5 million in funding to support a multi-faceted approach to immediately expand access to fresh, healthy grocery shopping options for Atlantic City residents. 

The 40-foot Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store allows Atlantic City residents to shop twice a week for fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen meat, dairy, eggs, and other basic grocery staples below-market prices.

“At Virtua Health, we view food as fundamental to health and wellness. Our Eat Well programs help ensure that South Jersey residents not only have access to fresh, affordable foods, but that they also receive guidance and support for embracing good nutrition as a lifestyle,” said Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Marlton, N.J.-based Virtua Health. “We are honored to collaborate with Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to bring Virtua’s Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store to Atlantic City and explore new opportunities for food access.”

[Read more: "Food Insecurity On the Rise: Report"]

The Mobile Grocery Store has been in operation since February 2021, serving food insecure communities in South Jersey. 

The Virtua food bus is one of two similar efforts paid for by the state with $5.5 million in funding. AtlanticCare, another southern New Jersey hospital system, is adding a mobile grocery to its food pantry program that also will include classes on health education, cooking classes and incentives to buy healthy foods.

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