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Simmons Employee Foundation donates $1,500 toward free fruit program


From Illinois Business Journal news services

ALTON – Grassroots Grocery has received funding for one of its charitable programs from the Simmons Employee Foundation: $1,500 toward the $5,000 Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program.

The program is based on an idea at a natural grocery store in Springfield, called Food Fantasies.

Grassroots Grocery, 415 Ridge St., is a non-profit grocery store that will open on Saturday, Aug. 22, with the aim to provide fresh, healthy food and be catalyst for community involvement.

“We believe that this program will begin to address positive interactions with community members of all colors and professions and the nutritional needs of area children. You know the adage: an apple a day… ,” said Christine Favilla,

The grocery is located in a USDA designated “food desert,” meaning the neighborhood is low-to-middle income without access to affordable healthy food.

Grassroots Grocery will be run as a nonprofit business open to everyone interested in shopping for healthy food and/or participating in workshops/seminars based on a healthy life through positive social interactions, and growing and eating healthy food.

“Supporting the capital campaign to open Grassroots Grocery was personally important to many of our attorneys and staff here at Simmons Hanly Conroy, including myself,” said John Simmons, Simmons Hanly Conroy chairman. “We believe its charitable programs like the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program will serve as an important beginning to build better health and stronger community bonds throughout the city.”

Grassroots Grocery has many charitable programs that have a funding source, like Friends of Grassroots Grocery, a complimentary membership program available to low-income households, to serve as relief to the poor, including the discount of 10 percent off all products. That program will be subsidized by family and business memberships, yet some of their programs did not have a funding arm, such as the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program.

With the $1,500 donation Grassroots Grocery will be able to start the Free Fruit program on opening day through the winter. The donation to the charity will makeit possible to distribute hundreds of pieces of fruit to children and police each month.

“When the opportunity arose to help a charitable program organized by the grocery store, Simmons Employee Foundation board members were excited to step in and help fund the Free Fruit for Youth and Police Program,” said Amy Fair, SEF president and director of the Asbestos Medical Department. “It is the foundation’s mission to give back to the communities where our employees live. This program will provide area youth with affordable, healthy food choices each day that will lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices for them and, ultimately, the community.”

“We know that all children need an equal opportunity to succeed and we would like to start the trend of making healthy food choices by offering affordable choices close to home. A free piece of fruit every day is one positive way to do this,” said Favilla.

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