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The Community Grocer

March 2024 $400,000 / 24 months

Federal policy governing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allows individuals to use their SNAP benefits to purchase highly processed junk food but forbids the exchange of SNAP dollars for freshly cooked and nutritious hot food items. The Community Grocer (TCG)’s pilot location, in close partnership with neighborhood organizations and community residents, intends to test a new nonprofit retail store and workforce development kitchen model that will increase access to SNAP-eligible fresh food for vulnerable populations at local corner stores. At TCG, residents in Southwest Philadelphia will have access to fresh meal kits and the ability to trade unopened meal kits – at no additional cost – for hot prepared versions at the community kitchen next door, bypassing SNAP hot food restrictions. If successful, TCG would be a self-sustaining model that could be replicated in other communities throughout the country.

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