March 5, 2022
Re: SHARE Story, Rev’s Corner by Rev. Willard W Bass, Jr
“Inequalities put many Black people on poor footing for retirement. Advice from Black seniors for a path to financial security:
The Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, the most recent available, paints the fuller picture. Black families have considerably less wealth than white families—a median net worth of $24,100 compared with $188,200.
There are also significant differences when it comes to the intergenerational transmission of wealth, with younger Blacks less likely than whites to benefit from family money that could help, say, with the down payment for a home or provide other kinds of financial lift-off. In fact, the Federal Reserve report notes that by some estimates the differences in inheritances and other family support is the main reason for the racial wealth gap.
For many Black Americans attempting to balance their day-to-day finances and retirement planning, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout have been disproportionately bad news. Forty-four percent of Black Americans said either they or a member of their household experienced job or wage loss, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center study.
All of these problems and more—systemic oppression and bias in housing, healthcare access, and educational opportunity, as well as employment and wage inequality—have combined to make retirement insecurity a pressing issue for Blacks, says Shawn D. Rochester, author of The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America. “This Anti-Black bias manifest itself in the form of discriminatory behavior that results in a quantitative economic cost which has an intergenerational effect on Black Americans at all levels and dramatically increases retirement insecurity,” he says.
Greetings Members of the SHARE Cooperative of Winston Salem:
It is fortuitous that I start our March issue of “SHARE Story” with the aforementioned statistics on how certain segments of our community and nation have fared as it relates to the accumulation of wealth in a nation whose very existence is built on wealth building both nationally and personally.
Thereby, translating into the success of day-to-day living acquiring those essentials needed to meet the social determinants for healthy living. In other words, there are certain essentials everyone needs to be whole and healthy each day!
Our existence as the SHARE Cooperative dba Harvest Market is largely dependent on this very culture of “doing business and supporting each other.” We are now ready to bring you updates on the progress of our (your) Cooperative and business as we move toward the opening of the full-service food market this Summer.
Let’s see, where we start…
Well, we could inform you that because of the pandemic we now have a fully operational Harvest Mini Market. A mini market that has been providing not only food and produce from our distributors but has been able to shift to offering the very nutritional products that you, the membership, have requested and are purchasing from your Harvest Mini Market!
You see, we have learned that to build a successful cooperative model you must be “in tune” with your members, their needs and their wants!
Harvest Mini Market now offers a variety of locally sourced healthy products, such as juices that have ongoing effects on one’s well-being. These juices have less sugars and more nutrients for the body’s growth and sustenance. There are the nutrient-packed products like Sea Moss that contains up to 90 of the 100 or so required nutrients for energy and healthy living. We also market a line of healthy products including cleaners and serving ware (www.harvestmarket.store).
There are lines of well-known healthy foods for vegetarians and the like. Our produce is coming from a combination of local farmers and distributors. Many of our Harvest Market products are coming from established, underserved entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of the pandemic to step out on faith to do things they had a passion for but not the opportunity.
SHARE Coop is providing opportunity for these new businesses to exist in the traditional marketplace environment. So, our goal of offering 70% organic and sustainable products with 30% staples at this location is coming to fruition.
One unexpected plus for the Harvest Mini Market has been offering “Informational Tours” through the mini market and the SHARE Center. Such engagements have resulted not only in additional memberships, but in corporate partnerships as well.
For example, a few weeks ago the SHARE Center co-hosted a Pilgrimage for Social Justice and Outreach sponsored by High Point University’s Chaplaincy office. This event enabled students, faculty, and staff to experience life in an underserved community with a strong, continuing history of social justice. We hope this engagement will result in future intern experiences for HPU and other partner university students interested in food justice solutions involving food insecurity issues in communities they are likely to encounter during vocational life.
So, let’s talk a little about the progress of the full-service food market. As you know, the General Contractor is hard at work completing the plumbing rough-in work in the next couple of weeks. While the vanilla box construction underway, work on the roof HVAC is moving forward. There will soon be interior walls and ceiling areas work going on as well.
We have also begun discussions with an Artistic Team to provide a “Mural Story” on interior walls of the market. Now that will be something to see…stay tuned!
Our work with the Food Pharmacy Initiative continues with the expansion into medical systems’ health improvement programs to reduce or eliminate illness, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol caused by unhealthy eating. Our Pharmacy boxes will provide better choices for nutritional and healthy food from local farms. Stay tuned as we roll-out new partnerships soon.
Our marketing department will see the inclusion of a Marketing Team led by professionally trained marketing personnel for better community engagement. You will begin to see more blurbs about specials at the Harvest Mini Market, such as our weekly “Tasty Tuesdays,” where Nicole invites the membership to try a new product and tell us what feel you about the product as a regular offering. Yes, we want your opinions and feedback!
And finally, in the areas of personnel and operations management SHARE, Inc has hired Anna Donze as our Program Coordinator. So, when you stop by during the week Anna will greet you and answer any questions you have regarding our operations. Welcome aboard Anna, you hit the ground running in your first month as a member of the SHARE Team (email@example.com).
Also, the Harvest Market Board is working diligently to fill our General Manager position for the full-service market. FYI, the pandemic has provided a variety of candidates who are no longer looking for a salary alone, but feel moved to join an organization with a mission and purpose for addressing issues of injustice like food insecurity. Stay tuned…we will make an announce in this area soon.
So, we have started 2022 with what could be termed “a bang,” even though I believe it is due more to the urgency of the matter of establishing spaces where authentic community can germinate and thrive. I want to personally thank those of you who have hung in with us to this point. We don’t take your support and commitment for granted and will be sure to invite you to be a part of the initial opening celebrations. This is something to stay tuned for as well!
Peace and blessings,
Rev. Willard W Bass
…Please give me (us) opportunities to help others find new strength in you (1 Samuel 23:16).