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Fare & Square, billed as the nation's first nonprofit supermarket when it was opened by hunger relief organization Philabundance last September in Chester, Pa., recently added a beneficial service for area residents, in the form of Senior Day. Once a week on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the supermarket and the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) transport elderly shoppers from several CHA sites to the store, which is located in the heart of a former USDA-designated food desert.
Once at the store, the senior shoppers (those 55 and older) who are members of the store's Carrot Club (which is open to all customers, regardless of age) will receive an additional 2 percent discount coupon that can be applied to purchases made on that day. Further, the store's Carrot Cash benefits can help those who earn 200 percent of the poverty line or less make ends meet. Fare & Square staffers –- who, in my brief experience of them during my visit while working on PG's November 2013 Store of the Month profile –- proved to be highly engaged and enthusiastic -- are available to sign up first-time shoppers and welcome them to the store.
Other supermarkets have senior citizen shuttles and discounts, of course, but for Fare & Square, it's all part of the innovative enterprise's goal to aid the underserved residents still existing within this former food desert, including the elderly, who might find it hard to travel even a few blocks to the store because of infirmity, or unable to shop for food on a regular basis because of a lack of monetary resources.
For not being content to rest on their considerable laurels and continuing their mission to make fresh, healthy food affordable for all people in the area, I commend Fare & Square, and hope other grocery stores take their cue from that supermarket to effect the same kind of change in low-income communities.