11/15/2012 08:39 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Social Groceries to Weather the Storm


Marinopoulos SA, the leading food retailer in Greece and Cyprus, in cooperation with the respective municipalities, created a nonprofit organization operating three social groceries in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki since 2007.

Even before the crisis, Marinopoulos has identified the need of giving back to society and helping people in need.

The social groceries are operating in municipal buildings. They do not differ in any way from other super markets, except in the absence of certain categories of products, like alcohol.

The families that shop in these stores are selected by the municipalities, based on certain criteria (extreme poverty, absence of income).

The beneficiaries identity is protected by the municipalities and they obtain the right to purchase free of charge most of their needs for survival. Their spend, depending on the size of the family, is approximately $320 per month.

Marinopoulos SA is thus serving 600 families, investing approximately $2.3 M/year.

Because the financial crisis is becoming more acute, Marinopoulos SA is trying to expand both the number of families served as well as the number of social stores creating a program for its, suppliers other foundations, and individuals to participate. The target is to expand the program tenfold in the coming year, both in the number of families that are served and also in the number of geographies (municipalities) that are covered.