Philabundance hosts info sessions on nonprofit grocery store jobs

News Source: Delco Times

CHESTER — Dozens of city residents recently stopped by City Hall to attend employment information sessions hosted by Philabundance, which is opening a nonprofit grocery store in Chester’s West End.

Philabundance, the largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley, is constructing a 13,000-square-foot store at Ninth Street and Trainer Avenue. Dubbed “Fare and Square,” the store will provide 40 to 50 full- and part-time jobs, including management positions, when it opens in late summer.

Catherine Doherty, Philabundance director of human resources, said the employment sessions give applicants “an overview of what Fare and Square is and, more precisely, what the job will be like.”

Fare and Square has a range of positions to fill, including cashiers, clerks, maintenance staff and management positions. The openings include both salaried and hourly employees.

Nicole Kimmel, human resource coordinator, said compensation for the management positions will vary based on the employee’s knowledge, skills and experience. Cashiers, clerks and maintenance staff initially will receive an hourly rate of $7.75 with opportunities to earn raises. Benefits will depend on tenure and employment status.

“This is a very fast-paced job,” Kimmel said. “There’s no idle time. There’s always something to do.”

Philabundance hired Denina Hood last month to serve as the store’s membership manager. Hood, a Chester resident, has experience working with the city’s various food cupboards. Because Philabundance seeks to hire Chester residents to operate Fare and Square, Hood said the grocery store will “truly be a community supermarket.”

“There’s opportunity not just for food, but for people to gain employment,” Hood said. “As you can see from the people here, it’s definitely needed and they’re very interested.”

Bikeem Lammons was among dozens of people that sat through a brief information session regarding employment opportunities Wednesday. He said the grocery store is good for the community because it will provide jobs that will help get people off the streets. Lammons said he came to the session because he needs to “get a job for the kids.”

Philabundance again will host an employment information session Tuesday at PA CareerLink, 701 Crosby St., from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Fare and Square will be a member-only grocery store, but anyone can gain free membership. The store will operate 8 am.-8 p.m. daily. The store will provide various food at low costs, but particularly focus on providing fresh produce, dairy, meat and seafood products.

Fare and Square will accept SNAP benefits and provide discounts on future purchases to income-eligible customers.

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