Back on My Feet recently partnered with StreetWise and Neighbor Capital to introduce the innovative Neighbor Carts program to residential team members. Neighbor Carts, supported by a vendor-training grant from the city of Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development, enables individuals to become successful and profitable fruit cart vendors. Participants in the program have the unique opportunity to both manage their own fruit cart stand and help increase access to healthy foods across local communities.
New vendors receive intensive training, including modules on sales and marketing techniques, customer acquisition strategies and customer service. Vendors also receive basic job-readiness preparation and additional financial and social services support through Streetwise. Neighbor Carts provides the street permit, fruit cart and supporting infrastructure. John Piercy, founder of Neighbor Capital, believes that Neighbor Carts can be the practical answer for two of the top issues facing Chicago: unemployment and access to healthy foods. Piercy believes that Neighbor Carts “is more than just a fruit cart; these carts bring about social change.”
Neighbor Carts currently has several carts in operation, with plans to place several more into service in the coming months. Seven Back on My Feet members have attended orientation, and four have already submitted applications and been approved to begin training.