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Free Grocery Program helps, but also builds community

Organizers pack grocery bags for Sunday distributions in the Everett neighborhood.
Organizers pack grocery bags for Sunday distributions in the Everett neighborhood.(Madison Pitsch)
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Solidarity, not charity.

That’s the motto for organizers of the Everett Free Grocery Program. They’d been wanting to help for some time, but didn’t know where to start until the pandemic hit.

The Pandemic was the moment that spurred this group to start taking care of their community.

“We felt that it revealed some of the precarity that most people, at least living in this community are facing all the time,” said George, an organizer at the Everett Free Grocery Program.

But they didn’t want it to be a hand-out.

“We wanted a way where we could come together as a group of just neighbors, and create a resource that everyone can pull from and try and rely on one another,” said George.

Pre-packaged grocery bags, with bread, peanut butter, ramen, canned veggies and refillable hand sanitizer. A show of solidarity between neighbors.

“People have really taken a step toward one another ironically, toward helping and getting to know one another,” said George. “So I think in a lot of ways our community has come closer together.”

The bags are funded solely by donation.

“We’ve had some fortunate encounters with grocery stores that have been willing to donate some, and then it’s just neighbors coming in and, ‘Hey, I bought an extra bag of groceries, and leaving it with us,‘” said George.

The program has been going on for 11 weeks, helping 50 families every week.

But, this isn’t just some pandemic, community coming together type of outreach.

“Crisis is indicative of what happens just generally,” said George. “It gives it a level of visibility, that people feel innately that they need to step in.”

To connect with the Everett Free Grocery Program find them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/everett_free), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/everettfreegroceryprogram/) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/everettfreegroceryprogram/)

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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