Ebeid Institute to bring grocery store, services to Central ToledoWritten by Tom Konecny | | email@example.com
A new four-story, 26,000 square foot center in the UpTown section of Central Toledo will offer groceries, health screenings and other life services, according to plans unveiled by ProMedica.
“We have been working on social determinants of health, primarily hunger, for the last several years and really began to understand that significant link between hunger and poor health outcomes,” said Stephanie Cihon, corporate director, advocacy and government relations.
The cornerstone of the Ebeid Institute for Population Health will be a 6,500 square foot grocery market offering healthy food options to an area that currently has none.
“Our main goal isn’t to duplicate anything already going on,” Cihon said. “There are not any other grocery stores, so that is one of the reasons we chose to locate in this space.”
Two other significant factors are a $1.5 million gift, and a building donated by the City of Toledo.
Russell Ebeid of Detroit, a philanthropist with ties to Toledo’s glass industry and also a ProMedica board member, donated the funds to get the project off the ground.
“He is a gentleman who believes very strongly in helping to build up communities,” Cihon said.
The building is located at the corner of Madison Avenue and 18th Street, and was donated by the city for ProMedica’s development. Cihon said ProMedica worked closely with the mayor’s office and city council to also make the project happen.
“One of the reasons it was appealing to us is that it needs a lot of work, but it’s basically intact,” Cihon said. “It’s a very open concept building.”
ProMedica worked with a consultant to research locations and food access, and overlaid that information with health data to see where it could be potentially most effective. The UpTown area proved to be the ideal location, according to Cihon, especially combined with its “neighborhood energy” and diversity.
The grocery store will resemble that of a smaller corner market, but offer predominantly healthier food choices, such as fresh vegetables and fruit, dairy, bread and other kitchen staples; shoppers won’t expect to find lottery tickets, cigarettes and frozen or processed foods. It has not been determined if the market will have its own separate name or not.
“One in six families are food insecure,” Cihon said. “Things are not getting easier for folks. It’s really, really difficult for families, and it has huge impacts on their ability to learn and grow. We look at food as an absolute basic need.”
The Institute will also offer nutrition classes, health screenings, job training and other services. How exactly some of these services will be presented is yet to be determined.
“We’re looking at community partners to see where the gaps are, and we’re looking at community meetings to see what the needs are,” Cihon said. “We really want it to bubble up organically from the community itself.”
The center is set to open late 2015 or early 2016, and according to Cihon, a total cost for the entire project is unknown.