Salvation Army Opens Its First Nonprofit Grocery Store

The organization hopes to expand the initiative across the country.

The Salvation Army has just opened its first-ever nonprofit grocery chain. The store is called DMG Foods (after the nonprofit's motto, "Doing the Most Good") and aims to provide food to those in areas where it is difficult to find affordable or high-quality fresh food. The stores will provide local residents with access to low-cost, nutritious food.

The store will "present a sustainable model that engages the community in order for them to eat healthier, smarter, cheaper and all of that," Gene Hogg, The Salvation Army's area commander for Baltimore, said.

The first DMG Foods opened in a 7,000-square-foot former Salvation Army warehouse in Baltimore last week. 

"Located in a healthy food priority area, DMG Foods will provide fresh and affordable produce to 1,200 families annually and open at least 15 jobs within the community,' according to a press release. "It is believed to be the first grocery store in the nation to combine social service with a traditional grocery shopping experience, and will provide nutritional guidance, shopping education, and meal planning, and workforce development." 

The store is just like any other supermarket with on-site butchers, deli counters, food samplings, cooking demonstrations, and a loyalty program that gives discounts to members. Maryland's Food Bank will also provide prepared meals and salads for the store. In addition, DMG Foods will offer shoppers recipe ideas and put together events that include guest chefs and city health department nutritionists, according to HuffPost

"What we're trying to do is create an environment where the community feels welcome and where they're engaging for the betterment of their community," Hogg told the outlet. 

The store is open to all regardless of income level, but those with SNAP benefits will be eligible to receive some complimentary food items once a month. "The goal of DMG Foods is to double the amount of food that clients can purchase with SNAP benefits," the Salvation Army in a statement.

The Baltimore store is a test site which will determine whether or not The Salvation Army will expand DMG Foods around the country in other food deserts. 

While this is a positive step forward for the organization, The Salvation Army has been criticized in the past for discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community. There's a lot of work to be done within the organization, and the world, to make people or all walks of life feel welcome to resources. 

Cover image via Thaiview / Shutterstock.com

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