Kim Rivero Frink, Board President, SunCoast Market Co-op
During this ongoing health crisis, the City of Imperial Beach created a task force of local leaders to connect high-risk individuals with resources– including food, transportation, volunteers, laundry service, technical/web support, and friendly phone calls. One community partner is SunCoast Market Co-op.
SunCoast Market is a grassroots effort to open a 100% community-owned (cooperative) grocery store in Imperial Beach, a food desert. Once stay-at-home orders started, SunCoast began receiving messages from residents who needed help finding fresh and local produce close to home. The SunCoast Board realized they needed to quickly pivot from growing co-op ownership to addressing the Imperial Beach community’s urgent food access needs.
SunCoast was able to organize a program with Specialty Produce, a San Diego produce distributer, so that South Bay residents could pre-order an affordable, quality produce box, sourced from local farms, and pick up it up in Imperial Beach. The goal was to have about 20 people order to start, but over 75 boxes were ordered the first week!
SunCoast volunteers continue to distribute 100-150 produce boxes each week, via a contact-free, drive-thru pickup event at the Imperial Beach Neighborhood Center and the community is loving it.
As part of the partnership with the City and through the generous donations of many residents and businesses, SunCoast has been able to give out 20-50 FREE boxes each week to local residents in need.