Nonprofit Grocery Store Uses Volunteers to Make Food Accessible to Low-Income Locals
The Good Grocer is a supermarket like no other; this nonprofit grocery store runs on “people power,” offering a 25 percent discount to any store member who agrees to volunteer at the store for two and a half hours per month.This way, the neighborhood store, which opened this summer on Lake Street in Minneapolis, can provide food for low-income residents and customers can feel as if they’ve “earned” their food without having to rely on food stamps and pantries.
“Because people weren’t able to contribute something, whether it’s their time or money, I think it eroded people’s dignity and … sense of self-motivation,” Good Grocer founder Kurt Vickman told The Star Tribune.
Volunteers at The Good Grocer sign up for timeslots that work for them to do jobs that they are interested in or are suited for. These positions include cashiers, baggers, stockers, cleaners, window washers, and refrigerator repair. For those that volunteer on the weekend, kids can be dropped off at a free daycare center.
Anyone can shop at the store, however. Every food item in The Good Grocer is listed with both member and non-member prices, and if customers wish to provide extra support to the nonprofit supermarket, they can forego the discount.