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Social enterprises deliver healthy food to needy Portlanders
Author: Kathy Pape, Central City Concern
Posted: September 18, 2012

Central City Concern and My Street Grocery Partner to Bring Nutritious Groceries to Clients with Histories of Homelessness

While Portland’s 400+ food carts draw national attention and hordes of diners, a new mobile food option in town will soon bring healthy food to people working to escape poverty.

Central City Concern, managers of approximately 1,600 units of affordable housing, and My Street Grocery, a new mobile grocer, announced today that they will be piloting a program to bring affordable, healthy food directly to Central City Concern’s tenants. The program launches Monday, September 24 at 1:30 p.m. at a garage on NW Broadway and NW Couch, located near the majority of Central City Concern’s buildings.  My Street Grocery will remain onsite until 2:30 p.m. The mobile grocery will initially visit this downtown site each Monday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. through the month of October.

Central City Concern is one of Portland’s oldest non-profit organizations with a mission to provide comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency via housing, primary and behavioral healthcare, employment and peer support.  “Poverty contributes greatly to poor health,” said Ed Blackburn, CCC Executive Director. “Healthy nutrition is a significant factor in supporting the wellbeing of our clients, especially those dealing with chronic conditions such as pain, depression and diabetes.”

Geoff Sittler, Occupational Therapist for CCC’s Old Town Clinic added, “Bringing My Street Grocery to our population will give them an important opportunity to address their health challenges through healthy nutrition, a great non-pharmaceutical option.  We are excited to begin this partnership and fully expect it to continue to expand as more clients of Central City Concern and other downtown residents explore this fantastic option!”

My Street Grocery is a community mobile grocer with a mission to increase fresh food access for all.  The organization seeks to overcome the physical, financial, education or time-related barriers to accessing fresh foods that are common to many Portland residents. My Street Grocery pop-up markets are currently found in 12 different locations throughout the Portland Metro area. The markets sell fresh, seasonal produce, staple grocery items like milk, eggs, and bread, as well as My Street Grocery Meal Kits. Meal Kits include all of the whole ingredients and the recipe card needed to prepare a quick, fresh, delicious meal at home. Markets are always open to the public, and accept cash, credit/debit, and SNAP/EBT.

“We believe that eating well is an important and fun step toward a healthy, happy lifestyle. Central City Concern's mission to provide clients with pathways to self-sufficiency marries perfectly with our goals. We see a unique opportunity to deepen our community impact through this collaboration,” said Amelia Pape, co-founder of My Street Grocery.

Central City Concern and My Street Grocery first came together through their involvement in Portland State University’s (PSU) Social Innovation Incubator (SII). Central City Concern has been working with the SII to launch a new social enterprise that will employ its formerly homeless clients in the high-demand coffee industry. My Street Grocery, a participant of the SII in 2011, was born from Amelia Pape’s vision and coursework as a PSU MBA student.

“We are so excited that these two organizations that are innovative in very different, but complementary, ways are now collaborating,” says Cindy Cooper, founder and Director of the Social Innovation Incubator. “This partnership keenly demonstrates the importance of working together across sectors to create collective impact.”

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The following individuals will be at the launch on Sept 24 and are available for interviews:

Amelia Pape , Co-Founder, My Street Grocery
Cindy Cooper, Co-Founder, Director of Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneurs
Adrienne Karecki, Senior Director of Social and Business Enterprises, Central City Concern
Geoff Sittler, Occupational Therapist, Old Town Clinic, Central City Concern
Sharon Fitzgerald, Assistant Director of Housing, Central City Concern