For some healthy food is out of reach - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

For some healthy food is out of reach

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) -

Many of us are able to get to a nearby grocery store and shop pretty easily, but not everybody in Texoma has easy access to healthy food. There are neighborhoods in Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas called 'food deserts' where good nutrition is hard to find.


"A 'food desert' is an area that does not have accessibility to either fresh fruits and vegetables, to dairy products, to meat products. So it's something that is usually further than a mile or more for people to have access to food."


Betsi Moore Lujan of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank says areas like the east side, Scotland Park, and the north side are 'food deserts' in Wichita Falls. It's a problem Bernard Grant says he deals with on a daily basis The closest full service grocery store like United is over a mile away and no buses run in his neighborhood.

"It would be nice if they put a grocery store somewhere around here in this neighborhood because the elderly and people like me with illnesses need to walk so far to get to the store because we don't have a license to drive and we don't have a vehicle."


Experts say there are many reasons why people can't get to the grocery stores, they are disabled, elderly, or without transportation, or any family to help them.

"Usually in our 'food deserts' we have convenience stores and a lot of what is in the convenient stores is processed food and not the type of foods we want to encourage and to help us to be healthy and watch our diabetes and our blood pressure."

But shopping in some of those convenience stores can put a dent in your wallet.

"A bag of sugar. $4.00, A half gallon of milk maybe $4.00 or $5.00. As opposed to going to a bigger supermarket where you can get it for a $1.30 or $2.00 at the most."


He says the convenience stores jack the prices up because they can. They are local and convenient and for many the only option. So how do we turn a 'food desert' into a 'food oasis'?

"Solution would be to have little corner markets that are providing fresh healthy affordable food."


Lujan says the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank goes out with their produce express truck and gives out free produce in 'food desert' areas. After January 1st, they are going to target more of the outer lying areas with produce express. She says it would be great if people had low cost transportation or access to a food pantry or an affordable grocery store.
 

"It's not very convenient over here and I'd like to see someone do something about it to help people, it needs a store nearby."

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