Last December we co-hosted, with People’s Grocery, the first of a series of community gatherings geared at engaging residents of West Oakland in our efforts to create a full-service grocery store, health resource center and community hub in the neighborhood. In addition to socializing and sharing good food, we presented our current plans for the store and then broke the attendees into small groups where they discussed and reported back about their reactions to our ideas and their suggestions of how we can further improve our plans to better serve them.
The gathering also included a large-group discussion about creating a community board, tentatively called the Community Advisory Council, that would be continuously engaged in providing feedback and guidance to our planning, helping outreach to the community when we get close to opening our doors and acting as a liaison between the community and our business to voice the interests and desires of local residents. There was an interest expressed by many attendes for the community board to interface with PCM’s board and managers in order to ensure that the company’s leadership maintains strong relationships in the community and can be held accountable to its commitments when necessary.
It was decided that a committee of residents would be formed that would, over the course of 6 months, work on developing a design and plan for the Community Advisory Council. The first meeting of the committee was held on January 29th and co-facilitated by PCM and People’s Grocery staff. The committee began to flush out the structure and management of the council, what the roles and responsibilities of the council members would be and how the councils’s composition and membership would be determined.
Four initial working groups within the council were also identified:
-Health Servicesand Social Supports
-Merchandising and Services
-Advocacy and Action
The next meeting of the committee will be held in mid-February and will be focused on continuing to refine the various elements of the Community Advisory Council. PCM’s board of directors will be meeting in March and what the committee has developed by that time will be presented to the board for discussion.