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Union Foundation donates $25,000 to Chester nonprofit grocery store

The Union Foundation did a check presentation on Thursday at Fare & Square, a nonprofit grocery store in Chester.

A nonprofit grocery store not far from Talen Energy Stadium has more frozen food options now thanks to a $25,000 donation from the Philadelphia Union Foundation.

Fare & Square, the only full-scale nonprofit grocery store in the nation, has made it its mission to provide Chester families "good food right around the corner." It was the first grocery store to operate in the city in 12 years when it opened in October 2013.

Mike Basher, vice president of retail operations, said the store has been growing, increasing in sales by 25 percent in its second year, but needed more freezer space to provide additional options of meat, vegetables, juices, seafood and halal.

That's where the Union Foundation came in, providing a donation that enabled the store to add 24 additional feet of frozen food options.

"I think it just says so much to the community that the Union is here not just to be in the community, but part of the community," Basher said. "I think it's a tremendous message."

Officials from the Foundation, the Union front office and Philabundance, the Philadelphia food bank that spearheaded the creation of this one of a kind supermarket, were on hand at the 9th and Trainer Street store Thursday for a check presentation. So too were kids from the Wizz Kids Learning Academy and students from Chester High School.

Gift bags were given out, along with an autographed jersey and soccer ball and the little ones even got to kick some soccer balls around.

"This isn't just superficial," said Dave Rowan, the Union's executive vice president and chief revenue officer. "This is truly making an impact in the community. You look at the kids that are here and you look at what this store represents in an area that doesn't have a lot of opportunity and it's significant."

Rowan credited the fans who support the foundation by buying 50/50 tickets at games and attending foundation events and the foundation's corporate partners for making this "phenomenal day" possible.

"It's not the foundation, it's not the Union, it's collectively the fans, the community supporting programs," Rowan said.