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Proposed food center gets $150K gift

Delaware County Daily Times
John Kopp

The U.S. Airways Community Foundation donated $150,000 to Philabundance on Tuesday to help fund a proposed food center in Chester.

The nonprofit Philabundance is raising funds to open a nonprofit grocery store in the city, which has been without a full-fledged supermarket for more than a decade.

“We are absolutely thrilled that U.S. Airways Community Foundation is supporting the project,” said Marianne Lynch, director of development at Philabundance. “U.S. Airways has been a long supporter of Philabundance… They thought that it was just such a needed thing in the community.”

Philabundance estimates the food center will cost $4.5 million. The nonprofit has raised about $2.5 million of that, Lynch said.

“We’re still in the fundraising stage,” she said. “If all goes well, we’re hoping to be able to get construction up and going as soon as we collect the final fundraising.”

In February, the organization announced it had purchased a 21,000- square-foot building at 3103 W. Ninth St. to house the food center, dubbed “Fare & Square.”

The food center essentially will serve as a nonprofit grocery store, a shift from the food banks Philabundance runs throughout the Philadelphia region. In addition to providing free, donated food, the food center will offer food staples at low prices and accept SNAP benefits.

Once construction begins, Lynch said the food center could open six to 12 months later. It is expected to create about 30 jobs.

“I feel like this is a victory for the city of Chester,” Lynch said. “We definitely have some community partners who are investing its future.”

The donation from the U.S. Airways Community Foundation was among $325,000 in grants it made to four nonprofits. The foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations located in the airline’s hub and focus cities of Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington.

“U.S. Airways is honored to support nonprofit organizations that focus on sustainable change and result in healthy, vibrant communities,” Elise Eberwein, executive vice president of People, Communications and Public Affairs, said in a statement. “It’s our way of helping big dreams get off the ground to enrich and expand the lives of passengers and our communities.”

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