Grassroots Grocery invited neighbors to share soul food and tell grocery organizers what they’d like to have available in the store. U.S. Bank and Grassroots Grocery volunteers served up the donated food.
ALTON — Grassroots Grocery organizers provided a festive gathering in the grocery store consisting of a free soul food lunch while getting to know the neighbors.
The goal was to have an event with food and music that would attract neighbors to the store so Grassroots Grocery could get to know the attributes of the neighborhood as the volunteers described the benefits of the store at 415A Ridge St. There was no cost to attend the event due to generous contributions from Lovett’s Snoots, Fish, Chicken, & More; U.S. Bank, Senior Services Plus Inc., Community Cultivators, Sierra Club, Grassroots Grocery Steering Committee members and La Vista Farm. The crowd was estimated to include nearly 200 neighbors.
Organizers have reached the four-fifths point in their campaign to bring healthy, affordable, locally grown food to the Hunterstown neighborhood and Greater Alton. Money for coolers, freezers and inventory is still needed to be raised and the Family Memberships and Business Memberships are pulling the weight. Thirty days after the final $10,000 is raised, the store will open.
“We need 100 more members to open our doors,” said Christine Favilla, co-project manager for Grassroots.
Upon the store’s opening, cooperative members will enjoy a 10 percent discount at the full-service grocery, although shoppers do not need to be members. Through the grocery’s charitable policy, residents who face food insecurity will qualify for a 10 percent discount. Qualifications include: households on public assistance, low-income households earning up to 125 percent of the Illinois poverty level, and residents of low-income senior assisted living facilities.
Grassroots Grocery also will enact an “affordability program” to offer a low mark-up on selected items that would be considered staples in many people’s diets. The store will strive for a “zero-waste” policy by transferring items to a discounted clearance section toward the end of their shelf life, ultimately donating items to local food pantries and churches.
Local food producers can apply to be a vendor at the store, as the departments are forming initial inventory orders. They are in need of produce growers in particular. The registration site is on their website at www.grassrootsgrocery.org/ from the Producers link at the top.
Visit www.GrassrootsGrocery.org to review donation levels, each with different perks depending on the contribution amount. These perks will only be available during the kickoff campaign. A short website video explains the need for the endeavor and the benefits of having this cooperative in the community. The project’s short-term goal is to build a strong outreach component to educate citizens about the importance of fresh foods and how to prepare them, and the ultimate vision is to foster additional economic growth and job creation in the neighborhood. Grassroots Grocery is a project of the Community Cultivators, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations are tax-deductible.
To make your donation and become a member, visit www.GrassrootsGrocery.org.
To stay up to date on store news, like Grassroots Grocery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GrassrootsGrocery.