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Rise and Shine Food Co-Op Begins in Delray

The Rise and Shine Family Food Co-Op, operated by teens from the Boys & Girls Club, kicks off Saturday at the club on SW Seventh Street in Delray. It's based on an already successful program operating in West Palm Beach.

Families who sign up by noon today and pay $30, plus a $10 start-up fee for bags and processing, will get three full shopping bags of produce, two fresh meats, a loaf of bakery bread, and assorted nonedible staples twice a month.

A $155,000 grant from the Quantum Foundation for the project put a group of teens from the Boys & Girls Club through an intense eight-month business program, bought start-up materials, and paid administrative staff -- which includes four of the top-performing teens.

Fruits and vegetables, which will vary with availability, come from a local

produce company. "Rorabeck's Produce has been just fabulous in giving

us wholesale pricing and other discounts," said Lottie Gatewood,

director of development for the youth group. "The more people who sign

up, the bigger discount we get."

Nonperishables fill out the

bags and cartons. "Gift cards and gifts from community partners like

Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Target, and other stores were the sources for the

nonperishables," she said. Community gifts also provide the money for

two quality meats -- a chicken and a tilapia, or a chicken and ground

turkey -- for each family. A partnership with Old School Bread Co. means

that a loaf of fresh-baked bread goes into each bag.


don't intend for this to substitute for all the groceries for a family

of four for two weeks, but it's a supplement," she said.

Although there's no restriction, by income or location, on who is eligible to

receive these foods, it's intended for the disadvantaged, Gatewood

said. "We've got the application approved to accept food stamps, and

we'll be able to take those in the coming weeks, once we get the

equipment to process them."

An organic garden, funded by the

Food Network through an award, is part of the project, and eventually,

it's planned that the co-op can draw from the garden for at least some

of its vegetables. The entire co-op project is expected to be

self-sustaining, perhaps within a year.

A third co-op is expected to open soon in Belle Glade.


goal is to give back and give a hand-up -- not a hand-out," she said.

"It's fostering the business education for the teens too."


involved in every facet of the business end of it, as well as working

at the distribution, she said -- plus getting firsthand

gratification of seeing what good they provide and making them part-owners of their community.

Sign-up is until noon Friday, March 5.

Distribution will be at the Naoma Donnelley Boys & Girls club, 1451

SW Seventh St., Delray Beach, beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. The mayor

will kick it off with a speech, and the Good Food Organic Garden will be

unveiled, all followed by a demo of healthful cooking techniques and

tastings. To sign up or for more info, call 561-279-0251.

Jan Norris is editor and publisher of JanNorris.com -- a website focusing on South Florida food.

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Jan Norris

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