The Mariposa Food Co-op relocated to Baltimore Avenue two years ago, and while the corridor is now among the most vibrant in the city, it is also not far from some of West Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods.
The co-op is working to reach out to these neighborhoods and all members of the community regardless of income. Part of this effort has been setting up a special fund to subsidize the cost of membership for low-income members. The fund uses donations from other members and local businesses to pay for the $200 cost of membership.
“Sometime around 2011, conversations became serious around the idea of subsidizing equity for folks who otherwise might not be able to join the co-op,” said Jamila Medley, marketing manager at Mariposa. The fund was launched in October 2013.
Membership is important, Medley said, because it allows customers to “participate in the governance of the co-op and the priorities of the co-op.”
The co-op’s initial goal is to pay for 20 new members. So far, just over 10 members have tapped the fund for their membership costs. The Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, located a couple block north of the co-op on Baltimore Avenue, recently donated $5,000 to the fund.
Applicants must be 18 years or older and either a “current recipient of SNAP, cash assistance, or Supplemental Security Income benefits or are part of a household with income at or below 100% of the Poverty Guidelines as defined by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services,” according to Mariposa’s guidelines.
Medley said that goal for this summer is to spread awareness about the program.
“Mariposa does a lot of work in developing and promoting education and outreach initiatives, and that’s a mandate that we have from our membership — that how we participate as stewards in the community is very important,” she said.
More information on applying and contributing to the fund is available here.
Photo via Mariposa Food Co-op’s Facebook.