City of Wilmington pledges $ 200,000 to organizations fighting food insecurity


WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The land that was once Everybody’s supermarket on Greenfield Street will soon be the new food bank location for central and eastern North Carolina, but this is only the beginning of a new partnership between the city and organizations in the region will bring.

Mayor Bill Saffo on Tuesday announced that $ 200,000 will go to organizations in the region, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“There are many areas of the city, geographic locations where communities have to travel more than a mile to get to a grocery store,” said Cierra Washington of Northside Food Co-Op. The cooperative will receive $ 125,000 from the donation.

The southern area of ​​Greenfield Street has been facing a food desert since the Everybody’s supermarket fire in 2018. Now neighbors have to travel over a mile to a nearby Food Lion.

A mile may not seem like a lot, but it is a struggle for those without transportation. The bus system has a bag limit that prevents full trips to grocery stores, and walking more than a mile with multiple bags of food is unrealistic for many. If they manage the hike, families might not have the energy to cook a healthy meal afterward.

Residents of the city’s northside face similar issues. It’s something the Northside Food Co-op hopes to end, bringing more groceries to the neighborhood so families can eat better.

“This will allow us to continue working with salaries,” Washington said. “This will allow us to have funds to be able to move forward in the next phase of our project which is a pilot store that we hope to open in January 2022 and it will also give us some stability to continue moving forward.”

“Some areas of our community have high pockets of poverty, so what we can do to close this gap and provide nutritious food to people so that they can eat and be healthy is very important,” the mayor said. Saffo. “Most important is the ability to be able to have a grocery store or cooperative near their home where they can just walk in and buy food. “

While the Northside Food Co-op plans to address the food desert issue in one region, the Central and Eastern North Carolina Food Bank is considering a new location at the old Everybody’s Supermarket site. Executives hope to innovate at the start of the new year. When the doors open in November 2022, residents will be able to take advantage of the new opportunities that the food bank can offer.

“One will be a commercial kitchen where we hope we can invite the community to learn things like health education and cooking good healthy, nutritious and dense foods and the other will be a fresh produce market that will really be there for the people of this neighborhood, ”said Beth Gaglione, branch manager of the food bank.

The remaining $ 75,000 of the city’s pledge will go to Feast Down East to expand its mobile market, bringing fresh food to 2,000 people and growing.

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