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Midwest Simon Community social grocery to be the first in Ireland 



Midwest Simon Community social grocery to be the first in Ireland – Pictured above are Jackie Bonfield, Tracey Reddy and Audrey Irwin at the Midwest Simon food bank. Picture: Julien Behal.


Midwest Simon Community social grocery to be the first in Ireland 

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Tara Byrne





Midwest Simon Community is seeking donations to provide Ireland’s first social grocery store. The store will offer food at reduced prices to a rising number of people experiencing food poverty.

Midwest Simon has launched the funding call after the initiative was recommended in a study conducted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick. The study found that, apart from providing affordable healthy food, a social grocery could also improve people’s mental health outcomes by removing the stigma and shame associated with people being forced to queue on the streets at food banks or soup kitchens. This study will set the initiative in motion towards opening the doors for the first Social Grocery in Ireland.

Social Groceries are common projects throughout many European Countries, they provide opportunities to not only improve individuals’ accessibility to healthy food but to also offer them access to a holistic and empowering service. For that reason, the social grocery store planned for Limerick, by Midwest Simon Community, will be based on a social enterprise model. Through a range of skills and training courses, money management workshops, advice and information services, and cooking and food skills classes, individuals will be provided with prospects to move towards self-sustainability and financial stability. The first steps that will be carried out by Mid West Simon Community will be to offer the existing food bank users and others experiencing food poverty an opportunity to purchase grocery products of their choice at discounted prices.

Ms Jackie Bonfield, CEO of Midwest Simon Community said, “I am really excited to launch the Initiative for Ireland’s first Social Grocery. Our Social Grocery will assist with improving nutrition and therefore health as well as reducing the stigma associated with obtaining free rationed food and also reducing isolation for shoppers. We would ask any business or individual who would like to be a part of this first Social Grocery in Ireland to contact us directly on 061 608980 or [email protected].”

The charity already avails of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), providing four food banks in Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary. The annual cost of running Simon’s four food banks, in Limerick, Ennis, Kilrush, and Nenagh is approximately €100,000.

Midwest Simon Community was founded in 2006 provides services to men, women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary.

For more stories on Midwest Simon Community go HERE

To donate to Midwest Simon Community go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.