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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

The Rise of Bookstores With a Social Mission

On a recent rainy Saturday morning, eight organizers from All Power Books, a volunteer-run bookstore cooperative, gathered at the Church of Christ to distribute the leftover produce they had procured from a food bank. The day’s haul was unusually large: Crates of mini potatoes, frozen meat, green beans, apples and nectarines were stacked alongside snacks like fried spring rolls and Sour Patch Kids.

The weekly food distribution network, one of several programs the bookstore offers, has become a lifeline for many residents of West Adams, a historically Black but rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Los Angeles. More than a dozen elders, most of whom were Black and Latino, waited in the parking lot as volunteers packed their grocery bags.

For Rickey Powell, a disabled veteran who gets $23 in food stamps a month, the program was the only food drive within walking distance and often supplied a week’s worth of groceries for his wife and three grandchildren. With a cigarette in one hand and a rolling walker in the other, he requested a little extra meat for the kids. “This place is my go-to,” Powell, 64, said. “I’m usually the first in line.”

Read the rest at The New York Times


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