Last month, The Opportunity League received an Investors Bank grant for VILLAGES Community Marketplace.

The VILLAGES Community Marketplace has plans to be a full-service grocery store that provides access to fresh food, employment, opportunities to advance education, access to social services, and ultimately foster hope for the future of the community affected most by a lack of resources. Over the course of the grant period we hope to; 1) Establish clear steps to the funding, logistics, and management of a food retail store 2) Establish certification programs in culinary, customer service, and cybersecurity, 3) Develop MOU’s with the school district, human services, and potential employers for students that complete the certificate program 4) Create an annual community event for fundraising and raising awareness.

Success through this initiative can be described as building awareness of food insecurity in the City of Burlington and then creating resources to combat this challenge and the other challenges that may be byproducts. By engaging community members to be a part of the solution and active in realizing a better state of health and health equity, success can be measured by transforming a community from hopeless to hopeful. Providing meals, produce, and educational programming to families will tackle real current issues but our greatest accomplishments will be realized in the equity of future leaders who benefited from the opportunities provided. Finally, success through this initiative is creating a sustainable model of collaborative effectiveness that can inform how organizations and individuals can work together to address even the most challenging of issues for families and communities that may be different from our own.

Stay tuned as we progress through the journey of opening our own VILLAGES Community Marketplace


Written by: Sherley Hinds-Gomez