Alumnus Ricardo Rocha aims to solve food insecurity with grocery delivery to low-income neighborhood
Imagine what you could do with a fleet of electric-powered tricycles. Ricardo Rocha, the 26-year-old CEO of Abarrotes Bondadosa, Spanish for “Goodness Groceries,” does more than imagine.
Rocha runs a startup social enterprise that began delivering groceries and goods to low-income neighborhoods in northeast Denver, with a mission of eliminating food insecurity in the metro area.
And, at 26, having just graduated from MSU Denver in spring 2017, Rocha’s road from Mexico to CEO was indirect. As an immigrant and a man of color, he came from a low-income family and an abusive household. He grew up in a desert in New Mexico, and before that, a mountainside town in Mexico. Before becoming a Roadrunner, Rocha was an undocumented high school graduate with low grades and poor standardized test scores who couldn’t afford a cap and gown for graduation.
An administrator from his high school connected him to the College Assistance Migrant Program at MSU Denver that provided his path financially and academically to a college future. “MSU Denver was the only one that would let me in,” Rocha said. “They gave me the opportunity to start over and I felt at home.”
He started working for the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization lobbying at the state legislature. Governor John Hickenlooper appointed him to Colorado’s Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Council, which took him to Washington to lobby, draft programs and conduct research.
While working as a translator at a board meeting where nonprofit Denver Food Rescue was unsuccessfully trying to connect with Save-A-Lot grocery stores to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, he set up a meeting between the parties. Soon after Rocha unexpectedly received a job offer – running Abarrotes Bondadosa with on-demand grocery delivery.
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