Solidarity Shopping

If you have visited the Pingo Doce supermarket in Lisbon’s Telheiras neighbourhood during the Christmastime, you may have noticed there was something special going on there.

Spoiler Alert: The second edition of this innovative idea is on the go.


What is this project about?

The “Social Corner” project is simple: to set up small in-store shops where selected charities with social businesses could market-test their products without the necessary costs of opening a dedicated store. It is simply a ready-made sales channel, free of charge, where the total revenue from sales goes back to the institution.

The goal is to help non-profit charities to have a steady revenue flow, through a free and sustainable launch platform. It’s not the proverbial “give them fish for now”, but rather the no-less proverbial “teach them how to fish”.


The first experience

The initiative started in October 2018 with the Telheiras store, where homemade preserves, jams, chutneys and seasonings were sold, along with a lot of other natural and delicious products crafted by 2 organisations:

  1. “Mercearia Semear” (a brand that literally translates to “Planting Grocery Store”), which is an inclusive social business employing mentally-challenged people via agricultural activities and the manufacture of handmade food products, while fighting food waste;
  2. “Casa dos Sabores” (Portuguese for “Flavor House”), a brand devised by “Casa de Santo António”, an almost centenary Foster & Care Home that welcomes and cares for struggling pregnant teenagers, fostering maternal, social and professional skills in those that need them, so they can fully reclaim their role in society.

This pilot project gave both organisations the opportunity to sell, with total profit, their products for three months in one of the best locations of the store.

Despite this first experience having not resulted as good as expected, the project allowed a large majority of people to get acquainted with Casa de Santo António and Semear and also leveraged the sales in their own premises.

For the second edition, in 2019, new in-store formats and different causes are being tested and a different exhibitor was developed to help increase sales.

And that was just the beginning!

Between May and June 2019 it was CERCICA‘s turn to join the project. This Cooperative for Education and Rehabilitation of Inadvertent Citizens of Cascais is an institution that seeks to monitor the growth of children and young people with intellectual and motor disabilities, providing them with new challenges and inclusion activities.

The growth of biological teas and seasonings is the CERCICA’s social agricultural project for inclusion.

Casa dos Sabores and Mercearia Semear continue their partnership with Pingo Doce this year and the final goal is to reach the North region, if possible, till December.