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This grandmother just called her son for help. Then this man showed up. 'That made my Thanksgiving!'

Mark Lilly: 'Our model is to help sustain the farmers that are growing within a 50-mile radius'
Mark Lilly and Crystal Bowman
Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 21:56:35-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Mark Lilly’s renovated 1987 school bus surprised dozens of families the day before Thanksgiving in Richmond’s East End.

CBS 6 spoke to Lilly inside his farmer’s market on wheels he calls the FarmBus. Fresh, organic, and natural produce sit in place of the seats.

Lilly guaranteed his food is grown without pesticides and chemicals — from radishes to collard greens, apples to delicata squash.

“Our model is to help sustain the farmers that are growing within a 50-mile radius,” Lilly explained.

Mark Lilly
Mark Lilly

His day job is running a market called Farm to Family located on Mechanicsville Turnpike. But on Wednesday, volunteers outside prepared and packed up bags for a special delivery.

They load up 25 giant bags with fresh produce that is typically reserved for his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) customers. His gifts were made possible by his customers who donated their week’s supply.

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We then followed Lilly to the Fairfield housing in the East End. Lilly aimed to empty his bus for families the day before Thanksgiving.

“Whatever I have leftover I’m going to park and try to get rid of the rest of it,” he said.

Lilly and his volunteers go door to door offering their Thanksgiving Eve gift.

“Are these collard greens?” one woman exclaimed. “Thank y’all! Happy holidays. Thank you so much!”

No one turned away their generosity, including Crystal Bowman.

“We’re having a hard time right now and I just called my son to bring me stuff,” Bowman said wiping away tears. “Then here you all come. I literally just hung up the phone.”

Lilly went back to his bus and grabbed a loaf of bread, a jar of jam, and a dozen fresh eggs to give to the grandmother.

“It’s a great thing what you’re doing because there’s a lot of single parents out here that’s having a hard time,” Bowman stated.

Lilly returned to his bus and continued to fill bags with produce.

“That was beautiful. That made my Thanksgiving right there,” he reacted.

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