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
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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.