Cultivate Hope Corner Store receives grant to support mission

Cultivate Hope Corner Store
Bo Heeren, a team leader at the Cultivate Hope Corner Store, stocks meat on April 18. CREDIT CINDY HADISH

Cedar Rapids non-profit Matthew 25 has received a grant from the John and Cindy Family Foundation for $300,000 to be paid over three years to support Cultivate Hope Corner Store, its nonprofit grocery store located in northwest Cedar Rapids. The mission of the store is to break down barriers to healthy eating.

“One thing we want to start doing through the foundation is to fund solutions instead of just continuing to kick the can down the road,” said John Bloomhall of the John and Cindy Family Foundation, in a release. “There [are] so many challenges people are facing in their lives, and sometimes it’s hard to reconcile and solve these challenges. With the Cultivate Hope Corner Store, [affordable] food is a good solution to the challenge of hunger.”

Cultivate Hope Corner Store
The Cultivate Hope Corner Store opened in April 2022 at 604 Ellis Blvd. NW. CREDIT CINDY HADISH

Cultivate Hope Corner Store opened in 2022 in an area classified as a food desert, meaning fresh produce and healthy food wasn’t readily available. The Corner Store provides fresh produce, meat, dairy, frozen and nonperishables, as well as healthy, prepared Good Meals To Go for $5 or less, daily lunch and soup specials, rotisserie chicken, and local vendor products. A free produce section is stocked to allow shoppers to stretch their shopping budget and add fresh food to their meals.

While this store is located in a neighborhood in need of affordable groceries, it is a store for shoppers of all income levels.

“Everyone in Cedar Rapids can support local food access by doing just 10% of their weekly shopping at the Cultivate Hope Corner Store,” said Mark Elias, senior Cultivate Hope director, in a release. “We want and need everyone to shop here. The more folks that shop with us, the easier it is for us to keep fresh products, and more sales keeps our prices down for everyone. Plus, those who are able can donate at the register to support the free produce section.”

The Cultivate Hope Corner Store,  located at 604 Ellis Blvd. NW, is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.