Witnessing the increasing number of people living below the poverty line in Lebanon, a team of volunteers gathered to support the needy in their city through a one-of-its-kind non-profit initiative.
Tripoli has proven to have some of the poorest neighborhoods in Lebanon, where many people live in slums such as Hay El Tanak.
The country is in the midst of seeing rising levels of poverty due to the suffocating economic conditions.
Prices of basic goods are soaring with the deterioration of the Lebanese Lira, which has lost over half of its value against the dollar. There’s no doubt a solution had to be made.
The Social Grocery
Motivated by the incomprehensible rise in prices of everyday necessities, The Social Grocery is a concept spearheaded by one of the international United Nations staff, a Mina Tripoli native, Ziad Ayoubi.
Noticing the need for a project of this nature, Ayoubi convened a group of volunteers to create the non-profit store; the first of its kind in Lebanon.
In a nutshell, the initiative aims to supply the needy with essential food and other essential non-food items.
Such products include rice, pasta, canned beans, tuna, soap, napkins, sanitary pads, detergents, and more.
How They Do It
The pioneer project incorporates buying items in bulk and adding a slight mark-up of only about 2-5 % hence bringing down the usual price of goods and making them more affordable.
Currently, the social enterprise is working to build partnerships with suppliers who would like to contribute and give back to society by providing exceptional discounts.
Because it is difficult to serve all, our store provides significant discounts to people in need who can’t afford to buy their essential needs from commercial shops.
– The Social Grocery
The Social Grocery stresses that this initiative will not harm other sellers or supermarkets nor will it be taken advantage of. It aims to only supply the needy; customers must show their membership badge to buy items at discounted prices.
In addition, it will only supply the most essential. There will be about 30 types of products, while traditional groceries of over 300 types.
The Future of the Initiative
The group of volunteers is very eager to help more. Their objectives must seem very ambitious but they would like to see this model in other areas of the city and maybe expand to other Lebanese regions.
Ideas for supporting local and rural producers, including fruits and vegetables, and providing fresh food, are being discussed as well.
The most important in this initiative, according to Ayoubi, is collective work and partnerships.
This endeavor wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of the 20 people who are dedicating resources and time to create a sustainable model to support the people in need. Kudos to them.