The Salvation Army opened its first grocery store in the United States in March, with more than 100 local and national stakeholders attending the grand opening of DMG Foods in Baltimore, Maryland.

Named for The Salvation Army motto “Doing the Most Good,” DMG Foods will provide fresh and affordable produce to 1,200 families annually and create at least 15 jobs within the community. The 7,000 square-foot store has many features, including a butcher shop, a deli, ready-made foods such as rotisserie chickens, a bakery and a dairy section.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh—who launched an effort last spring to attract new grocery stores to the city—was among those in attendance, along with Commissioner Willis Howell, territorial commander, U.S.A. Southern Territory, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

The Salvation Army of Central Maryland worked with the Baltimore Development Corp, The Baltimore Food Initiative and The Maryland Food Bank to design the concept.

This store is committed to offering exceptional value to the public through its weekly ads and Red Shield Club loyalty program. In addition to in-house savings, customers that self-identify as government assistance recipients, via online or kiosk registration, qualify for complimentary food items, once a month.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2014 the average Maryland resident receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (commonly known as “food stamps”) receives $119.89 per person, per month—which is less than $4 a day. The goal of DMG Foods is to double the amount of food that clients can purchase with SNAP benefits.

DMG Foods will also provide a five-week workforce development program for citizens seeking employment. After providing these individuals with training and hands-on food retail experience, a case manager will assist them with job placement in Baltimore. Ultimately, DMG Foods will give these local residents an opportunity to develop new skills and gain work experience, which in turn will improve their financial welfare and instill a sense of pride and self-worth.

This article first appeared in New Frontier Chronicle.

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