Black-owned produce market supports West Philadelphia community during unrest, pandemic

The owner of a West Philadelphia produce market is helping the community in a special way amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest in the aftermath of the death of Geroge Floyd.  

Arnett Woodall, owner of West Phillie Produce, has been a fixture at 62nd and Market Streets for the last 11 years.

In that time, Woodall has become someone the community can count on for his role in operating a food distribution center on top of his regular business. 

"Giving away food, bread, canned goods, a lot of the things you saw in the pantry back there," Woodall told FOX 29's Dawn Timmeney. "We make sure we get it to the people who need it in the community."

It's no surprise that Woodall, who evidently has a heart of gold, took care of young mother who walked nearly two miles to his place Tuesday to find food for her family. 

"She had no acess to any supermarkets in the area or no stores in the area because everything was closed," Woodall explained, remembering the mother who came to his store with three young children in tow. 

The mother was forced to make the trek as nearby stores were recently looted and boarded up -- a common sight for much of the neighborhood.

And, like many others she also had no transportation and no way to get to the places that were open.

"We didn't let her walk back home. We sent her back home in a lift with five bags of groceries -- enough to last her," Woodall added. 

Woodall says in the last few days he's seen an uptick in people needing help due to the unrest in the city.

"We have a lot of seniors who've been walking here, coming here because they don't have anywhere to go either," He said. 

And Woodall does it all and more for his community, because he knows  how important his reliability is for those in need. 

"Somebody has to do it. Somebody has to be in the community. And then being a black man, since we're talking about what's going on with riots and stuff like that, they gotta see black men in the community doing positive, good things," Woodall declared. 

His efforts have neither gone unnoticed nor unappreciated. His generosity continues to be a light in these rather dark times.


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