Sendy Soto

Owner #2889

Why did you join the Dill Pickle? How have you participated as an owner?

I joined because I believe in supporting organizations that consider social, economic and environmental impact. By being a part of Dill Pickle, I know that the products that I buy have been carefully curated for members and consumers at large. I take pride in the purchases that I make because I know I am helping to keep an important resource in my community.

In my 20 years of experience working and volunteering for non-profit organizations, I know that maintaining a strong presence and being fiscally sound takes a village. Grassroots fundraising can be particularly helpful. Helping to sustain the co-op is a small way for me to contribute to the longevity of the organization. I am a strong believer that our experiences and resources are to be shared, and I live up to that by being a member of Dill Pickle (and the many other organizations and families that I support).

My participation so far has been purchasing my grocery items and encouraging friends to join the co-op.

Why do you wish to serve on DPFC Board of Directors?

I would like to join the Board in order to support the current board members, employees and the community of Logan Square. I wish to be a part of the growth by building new opportunities that engage with all the stakeholders - from businesses to families. Being someone who enjoys working in teams, I know I can effectively take part in the decision-making process.

As a lifelong Logan Square resident and as someone of immigrant descent, I also feel it is important to have representation like mine on the Board. My family and I have experienced the challenges that come with gentrification and I cannot help to wonder if I will be the next person to be priced out. I strongly believe my experience with help assure we are considering the socioeconomic factors of all community members in the plans of the co-op.

What perspectives, skills, experiences, or affiliations do you hope to bring to board leadership?

I am a committed community advocate and public affairs strategist. I have worked with various organizations across different sectors to create programs and events that are grounded on social impact.  My experiences include being a Racial Equity Fellow through Chicago United for Equity; Board Member for the Center for Changing Lives; and Citizenship Program Coordinator at World Relief Chicago. I have vast experience working directly for elected officials on a variety of public policy issues. I currently serve on the Local School Council for Mozart Elementary School. As a public health professional, I would like to help with the alignment of community health needs, like food access and diabetes, to the goals of Dill Pickle.

In light of our recent expansion, how might the co-op open its doors wider to prospective new owners and community members?

Given the culturally rich history of Logan Square, it would be great to team up with chefs whose culinary style represents different parts of the world. Local chefs with a strong Instagram following can bring more people in the door and raise funds if there is a charge for tickets. Given that we do not have an area for a chef to set-up a cooking class, they can be featured in the deli or bakery area.

We can also look into teaming up with a health system or community clinic to help with the issues of food insecurity, diabetes, obesity, etc. There has been a recent trend in grocery stores having a physician in-store to prescribe healthy foods for certain illnesses. At times, the physician will shop with the customer. This goes to the belief that food is medicine. Also, we can support clinics or organizations that address food insecurity by having food baskets donated by owners or a monthly food plan for low-income families. We can ask local businesses to be sponsors of the program or apply for grants from the Department of Agriculture and those alike.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am eager to share my creative ideas and network with the board members, employees and owners at Dill Pickle. I have been inspired by the meetings that I have attended to find ways to engage with potential owners, highlight the community impact and support employees with their professional growth. It would be an honor to be an integral member of the board and a representative of the Latinx community.