COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — What’s for dinner? It’s a question asked in most households every day, and in some households, that’s a complicated answer.

It’s a question the Mid-Ohio Food Collective answers with some innovative ideas. If you’re strapped for time and you’re a food bank client, the Mid-Ohio Market on Norton Road has something new. 

“Many of our customers are just super busy,” said Jay Cotrell, Executive Chef at Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “They’re juggling, you know, work schedules, multiple jobs, families, extended families.”

That means families without much time to shop or cook.

“Our mission is, food is health, we get to come here and serve our community and bring our passion for healthy, delicious foods to a customer base who might not have been able to have that experience otherwise,” said Cotrell.

The Mid-Ohio Food Collective serves nearly 300,000 prepared meals each year.  And now the Norton Road Market has introduced a new kitchen focused on turning out healthy, and culturally sensitive meals ready-to-eat, free of charge to clients.

Cotrell thinks the new kitchen is destined to be a hit with clients.

“Well, I don’t think it’ll take too long for them to realize that this is happening,” said Cotrell. “You know, once this becomes a staple, the couple of times we’ve piloted it here, it goes very quickly.”

The on-site kitchen is nearing its final touches, and soon this facility will serve the hundreds of families who come in the door each day.

“So now our families can get home and put together this healthy meal that they would probably have thought of on their own or knowing what to do,” said Cotrell. “But it’s ready to eat and it’s delicious and it’s chef-driven and it’s thoughtful and it’s healthy.”

On Thursday, some central Ohio buildings were lit up orange in observance of Hunger Action Month. The Mid-Ohio Food Collective, Columbus City Hall and the Franklin County Government Center lit up to raise awareness of food insecurity, and show they are working with the community to end hunger.