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As home cooks, it’s in our DNA to care about others. From sending care packages to family to making a meal for the new parents down the block, it gives us the warm-and-fuzzies when food and community collide. That’s why we’re so stoked for the Salvation Army’s latest feat.
The First of Its Kind
This month, the Salvation Army opened its first non-profit grocery store under the name DMG Foods—which refers to the Salvation Army’s slogan: “Doing the Most Good.” DMG Foods’s mission is to expand food availability for the community while also meeting the immediate needs of its customers.
The 7,000 square-foot flagship DMG Foods store is located in East Baltimore, Maryland and was designed to provide healthy and affordable food for families and individuals receiving SNAP benefits (SNAP is the largest program in the nation offering nutrition assistance to the needy) plus social services including nutritional guidance, shopping education, workforce development, and meal planning. It’s believed to be the first grocery store to provide such services.
How DMG Foods is Different
The Salvation Army of Central Maryland worked with the Baltimore Development Corp, The Baltimore Food Initiative, and The Maryland Food Bank (MFB) to design the concept, and the store is operated in partnership with the MFB. It has a butcher counter, a deli featuring lunch meats and prepared foods, a bakery, a dairy department, and 15,000 shelved items that are expected to afford 5% savings over traditional grocery stores.
In addition, the store’s Red Shield Club loyalty program provides special offers and discounts (here’s how to save money at your grocery store). The meal planning services include daily cooking demonstrations (and if you don’t think meal planning makes a big difference, then you need to read this true story on how doing so changed one woman’s life). In addition, those who self-identify as government assistance recipients qualify for complimentary food items monthly. And there’s this: The store itself will create at least 15 new jobs in the area.
Why East Baltimore?
The East Baltimore location was selected because it’s a “Healthy Food Priority Area” (formerly known as a “food desert”) under Baltimore law. It’s a residential area where the median household income is at least 185% below the Federal Poverty Level, over 30% of households have no vehicle, the distance to a supermarket is more than 1/4 mile, and healthy food options (such as lean protein, whole wheat grains, low-fat dairy, and produce) are in low supply.
We can’t wait to see what plans the Salvation Army has next! Do the most good in your own neighborhood. Check out the company’s website to learn how to give back.