The Salvation Army in Baltimore, USA, Opens Community Grocery Store
The Salvation Army's USA Southern Territory made history in March with the opening of a grocery store in Baltimore, Maryland. Called DMG Foods – from the National Branding Promise, Doing the Most Good, which is itself based on the words of Commander Evangeline Booth – the store will expand food availability for the local Baltimore community while meeting the immediate needs of its customers and promoting healthy eating. This $2.2 million project will provide fresh and affordable produce to 1,200 families annually and has already created at least 15 jobs within the community.
The 7,000-square-foot store is believed to be the first in the nation to combine social services with a traditional grocery shopping experience. Nutritional guidance, shopping education and meal planning advice will be offered, alongside a workforce development programme which will train at least 50 retail employees per year. DMG Foods customers have access to more than 8,000 recipes which they can add to their online grocery lists, at www.dmgfoods.org. These recipes can be tailored to a customer's dietary needs, by offering low-calorie, gluten-free and diabetic management alternatives.
Helping the community
DMG Foods was supported in a large part through grants from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, France Merrick Foundation, BGE, Baltimore Development Corporation and through generous gifts from several private donors. Through The Salvation Army’s partnership with the Maryland Food Bank, many families in need will expand their buying power and have a broader food selection. In comparison to other grocery stores, DMG Foods discount rates are five per cent lower than other Baltimore grocers.
All customers are eligible to sign up for the Red Shield Club loyalty programme, granting them access to in-house savings. Customers that self-identify as government assistance recipients, via online or kiosk registration, will receive a specific rewards card ID that will enable them to obtain complimentary food items once a month.
Loyalty card holders will also benefit from special events. Once a month, a random selection of up to 20 loyalty card holders will be invited to a private dining event, where they will enjoy a dinner and cooking demonstration from a local chef, as well being served hors d’oeuvres by culinary students of the Maryland Food Bank. The event is designed to provide entertainment, create community, promote nutritional practices and teach food presentation. Also, in order to encourage healthy eating from a young age, children up to 12 years old will be offered free fruit to eat while their parents or carers are shopping.
'The incentive is to promote the cost effectiveness of cooking at home,' says Major Gene A. Hogg, The Salvation Army of Central Maryland Area Commander. 'We want to encourage the community to prepare and eat meals with their families instead of buying prepared foods.'
By Christopher Priest
- An episode of Salvation Army Today that covered the grand opening of DMG Foods can be viewed at https://youtu.be/gY3SJhIfZAg
- For more information go to www.dmgfoods.org
- Photos of the opening can be downloaded from the IHQ Flickr stream: sar.my/dmgopening