Low-income Dorchester families no longer have to pick through nearly rotted produce and choke down questionable meat in order to stay within their means.
At least that’s the hope of Doug Rauch, who helmed renowned health food store Trader Joes for more than a decade.
Rauch, a Harvard University graduate and Boston-area resident, is the force behind Daily Table, a non-profit grocery store that opened on Washington Street last week.
Rauch said he hopes the store will solve a two-part problem when it comes to food security in the United States. One, the staggering amount food waste, and two, the fact that 49 million Americans struggle to eat well, or are food insecure.
“The issue in the US is not an empty stomach, it’s a healthy meal. But that made my problem harder to solve,” said Rauch. “Because nutrient rich food is expensive, and lower income families cant afford it.”
According to the Greater Boston Food Bank, one in every nine members of the Boston community is at risk for hunger, and Rauch designed Daily Table around that corner of the community that is in the greatest need.
All of the store’s products are covered by SNAP and follow the food guidelines set by Boston Medical Center. The store also offers pre-packaged, ready-to-go meals to make it easier for working families to choose healthy food options.
“A lot of people here don’t have a lot of money, but this place makes it possible to eat good, quality food,” said shopper Nate Young as he browsed the store’s aisles at its grand opening last week. The Greater Boston Food Bank claims that since 2008, Boston communities have seen a 21 percent increase in requests for food assistance.
“Other options for meals that are already ready around here are usually fried or unhealthy,” said store employee Jorell Benders. “And I am a person that likes to eat healthy. That was hard before, but [the store] makes it easy.”
Daily table gets its product from a variety of donations from other supermarkets, manufacturers and suppliers that donate their excess healthy foods to the store. “We have a blend of products that we are buying and a blend of products that get donated to us. That blend is what allows us to lower our prices,” said Rauch.
“Its great because the inner city needed something like this said Roxbury resident Jane Mirambeaux. “This place is fabulous. It’s cheap, its fresh, and its valuable.”