First affordable grocery store opens inside Cook County Public Housing family site

June 24, 2015 |

Catholic Charities & Housing Authority of Cook County Partner to Launch Pilot Fresh Food Market at Vera Yates Housing Complex

Ford Heights – Cook County officials and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago today announced the grand opening of the Crisp! Fresh Market located inside the Vera Yates Homes at 11th & Berkeley in Ford Heights, IL.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by Ford Heights Mayor Charles Griffin, Catholic Charities Associate V.P. of Community Development & Outreach Gina Cleggs, Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) Executive Director Richard Monocchio, a number of elected officials and residents of the Vera Yates Homes community to officially cut the ribbon to open the new store.

The Crisp! Fresh Market at Vera Yates Homes will provide healthy choices for families and other community residents who need fresh food items and have limited options.

“Too often, communities that struggle from a lack of resources are also food deserts. Residents are limited in their shopping choices. And eating a healthy diet becomes challenging. I believe that being able to conveniently purchase and eat fresh, healthy food is a basic human right,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture broadly defines urban food deserts as low-income census tracts where people live more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

“We are excited to bring this affordable market to the residents of the Vera Yates Homes because we know that fresh, healthy, and affordable foods are much harder to come by in food deserts where the nearest grocery store is miles away. Our residents are from all walks of life. They are employed, unemployed and represent all ages. Our goal is to bring healthy food options closer to residents, provide them with fresh choices, and ease the burden of transportation costs,” said HACC Executive Director Richard Monocchio.

The success of the three month pilot program will determine expansion plans for other HACC sites with little or no proximity to food markets with fresh, healthy options.

Additionally, Catholic Charities deploys the Crisp! mobile van to the south suburbs, including other HACC sites, for residents to have easier access to on-line orders and fresh food on site purchases.

“When residents have reliable access to a market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables, they can make healthy food choices for themselves and their families. The community is also an integral part in moving the healthy choice concept forward and we are committed to that partnership,” said Catholic Charities Associate V.P. of Community Development & Outreach Gina Cleggs.

Crisp! is a home delivery grocery service and is the only grocery service that accepts SNAP and LINK in Chicago and Cook County. The Crisp! Fresh Market at Vera Yates will accept SNAP, LINK, Credit & Debit. In addition to the 200 products offered at the Crisp! Fresh Market, more than 700 products are available for delivery throughout Chicago and southern Cook County. Crisp! prices are comparable to Jewel with an inventory of premium brands and value brands of all products.

The Crisp! Fresh Market measures 25 -by -20 with approximately 500 square feet of retail space. The dwelling unit can be utilized under the HUD Special Use requirements to foster and improve community and economic improvement.

Several of the Vera Yates residents participated in preparing for the opening of the store and provided community service hours with landscaping and beautification work. Crisp! is also hiring community residents to support training and job growth and is committed to investing goodwill within the Vera Yates and Ford Heights community.

For more information about the Housing Authority of Cook County, please visit us at www.thehacc.org;www.facebook.com/theHACC or www.twitter.com/theHACCtweets