ALTON — Grassroots Grocery received funding for one of its charitable programs from the Simmons Employee Foundation: $1,500 toward the $5,000 Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program.
The program is based on an idea store organizers saw at another natural grocery store in Springfield called Food Fantasies. Set to open Saturday, Aug. 22, Grassroots Grocery is a nonprofit grocery store that aims to not only provide fresh, healthy food, but to be catalyst for community involvement.
“We believe that this program will begin to address positive interactions with community members of all colors and professions and the nutritional needs of area children,” Christine Favilla said. “You know the adage: an apple a day...”
The grocery is located in a USDA designated “food desert,” meaning the neighborhood is low- to middle-income without access to affordable healthy food. Grassroots Grocery will be run as a nonprofit business open to everyone interested in shopping for healthy food and/or participating in workshops and seminars based on a healthy life through positive social interactions, and growing and eating healthy food.
“Supporting the capital campaign to open Grassroots Grocery was personally important to many of our attorneys and staff here Simmons Hanly Conroy, including myself,” Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman John Simmons said. “We believe it’s charitable programs like the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program will serve as an important beginning to build better health and stronger community bonds throughout the city.”
Grassroots Grocery has many charitable programs that have a funding source, like Friends of Grassroots Grocery, a complimentary membership program available to low-income households, to serve as relief to the poor, including the discount of 10 percent off all products. That program will be subsidized by the Family and Business Memberships, yet some of their programs did not have a funding arm, such as the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program.
Thanks to a $1,500 donation from the Simmons Employee Foundation, Grassroots Grocery will be able to start the Free Fruit program on opening day through this winter. This generous donation to the charity will make this program attainable, ensuring 810 of pieces of fruit go to children and police each month, making a difference in the community’s health and relationships.
“When the opportunity arose to help a charitable program organized by the grocery store, Simmons Employee Foundation board members were excited to step in and help fund the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program,” said Amy Fair, SEF president and director of the Asbestos Medical Department. “It is the foundation’s mission to give back to the communities where our employees live. This program will provide area youth with affordable, healthy food choices each day that will lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices for them and, ultimately, the community.”
“We know that all children need an equal opportunity to succeed and we would like to start the trend of making healthy food choices by offering affordable choices close to home,” Favilla said. “A free piece of fruit every day is one positive way to do this.”