image credit: Theresa John
A Salford charity is helping more than 1000 families eat well, making it their mission to make sure “no family goes without food”.
Community Grocery Outreach is helping the community as it ensures families that are financially struggling, from going hungry.
The organisation is located on Liverpool Street in Salford, providing food and products at a lower cost for those struggling to afford a general weekly shop.
Theresa John, the Community Grocery manager, said: “My different roles are to build a volunteer base, to work on stock rotation, administration behind the scenes, to help with the services we offer, and to provide customer care for all our customers.
“I think it’s important to help people at this time, more so than ever, because people are finding themselves in a lot of financial difficulty. Our service is able to provide food for people at a lowered cost, whilst also helping the environment by reducing food waste”.
Tackling the financial struggles families are facing in Salford is a priority for Community Grocery.
“I believe it has an impact in so many different ways,” said Theresa. “I think one, the impact is like I’ve said, providing practical food needs, but also giving people a safe, non-judgmental environment to come in to where they literally come and do a shop, they’re not getting a ‘handout’, there’s nothing wrong with handouts but it just brings that little bit more.”
But the organisation does more for the Salford Community than provide food.
Theresa added: “People can come in and pick their items, but also, they can have a little bit of a chat as well.
“We’ve had lots of different people, people who are struggling with domestic violence, struggling with mental health. Not only do they come in and get their shop, but they have that space to be able to just share and are able to go out with a better mindset”.
The Salford group has been providing this service since February 2021 and the efforts have not gone unnoticed. With supermarkets, local businesses and the Salford community supporting the organisation, Community Grocery has been able to flourish.
“We have a good social media base; a lot of people have come though that avenue,” Theresa said.
“The other big thing that tends to work in Salford is that it has a real core tight knit community, so word of mouth has been a big thing for us.
“The Little Green Deli is one of the local businesses that help to support us, they actually did a raffle for us, and the proceeds that came from their raffle they have donated for new memberships, and also for people who can’t afford a shop.”
The Deli manager Amy, spoke about her involvement in the Salford community, saying: “I contacted Community Grocery just cos I really wanted to help out, donating money and food to them.
“I think they’ve got loads to offer, it’s amazing what they’re doing you know you can go and get a full shop. I think it’s a lot different to foodbanks, and I think it’s a lot better. I also think it’s good that if you don’t have that spare four or five pounds you can still get a full shop”.
Community Grocery has also implemented a scheme whereby new members and customers can plan their shops accordingly.
“We have what’s called a pay it forward scheme really where people can come and take gift cards from a board,” said Theresa. “It’s basically prepaid shops for people, so that even if people are really struggling financially, that no family will go without food”.