Success Story

Penn grads develop The Community Grocer to provide hot food for those using SNAP benefits

Penn graduates Alex Imbot ‘20 and Eli Moraru ‘21 were recently featured in the Inquirer for their non-profit corner store idea, The Community Grocer, which improves food access for those using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rules state that hot food cannot be purchased using SNAP benefits, which prevents folks who use them from buying hot meals. 

To solve this issue, The Community Grocer, plans to sell raw ingredients of portioned-out meals in kits. The idea is that after the customer buys the uncooked foods with their SNAP benefits, they can leave the grocery and walk to the rear of the building, into a separate shop with a kitchen.

The customer will then give the meal kit to a worker, who will, in turn, give them a recently cooked version of the raw meal at no charge. The uncooked ingredients will be used to make another meal, for another customer.

Imbot and Moraru, who won the President’s Sustainability Prize at Penn in 2022 for this innovative concept, plan open The Community Grocer in Cobbs Creek in ten months and are currently working with a local chef, who will create their menu. 

Read the full Inquirer article here.

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