Princeton Mobile Food Pantry launches tote bag fundraiser

The tote bags are available in two colors.

The Princeton Mobile Food Pantry, a local nonprofit that provides fresh food to more than 900 people in Princeton twice a month, has partnered with Trenton artist Leon Rainbow to create a limited-edition reusable tote bag to raise money for the organization. 

Launched just in time for the ban on plastic bags in New Jersey, the totes are available in natural or black, and are emblazoned with Rainbow’s graffiti rework of the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry name, along with whimsical fruit and vegetable drawings.

“I believe in neighbors working together for the betterment of their community which is something that the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry focuses on,” said Rainbow. “When I was approached to create this design, I was inspired by the healthy food deliveries, and the love that goes into the work, which is why there is also a heart among the produce.”

Rainbow is renowned for his murals. Most recently he painted one at the Free Library in Trenton. In Princeton, he painted a piano for the Arts Council of Princeton’s upcoming Princeton Piano Project. 

“We jumped at the chance to work with Leon Rainbow on this initiative, as he truly understands our mission and expressed it so joyously in his art for the tote bag,” said Liliana Morenilla, founder and chair of the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry.

Totes, which cost $25, are on view at Custom Ink on Palmer Square in Princeton through April 5. Once the fundraiser closes, the bags will be printed and will be available for pickup at the former Bon Appetit space the pantry currently uses. To order a bag, go to the Custom Ink website.

The Princeton Mobile Food Pantry has operated since 2010. In 2017, a partnership with Mercer Street Friends Food Bank was established, and the food pantry began to offer a weekly food pickup for more than 300 people at the Henry Pannell Learning Center. Near the state of the pandemic, the food pantry became independent and mobile, changed its name to the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry, and shifted to biweekly deliveries of fresh groceries and other essentials. The residents who receive deliveries are often juggling parenting, multiple jobs, health concerns, and Princeton’s costly and challenging housing market, all of which are compounded by food insecurity. A volunteer-led collective, the food pantry supports local residents through various networks and in collaboration with community partners. For more information, visit the food pantry website.

Leon Rainbow at work at the Arts Council of Princeton.