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Mobile grocers help those with barriers to fresh food

Posted March 15, 2014
Updated March 17, 2014

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— Carl Watson, who lives in Carriage House retirement home in Raleigh, loves fresh vegetables and fruits. But because he’s in a wheelchair, grocery shopping can be a challenge.

“It's hard for the senior citizens and the older people like myself that's handicapped and disabled to get around to the stores as often as we would like," Watson said.

Grocers on Wheels is a mobile farmer’s market that is part of an effort to bring healthier foods to people such as Watson who have difficulty getting to the supermarket. Demetrius Hunter, director of the program, says his goal is convenience.

"What we want to make is just make it a convenience,” he said. “We want to make, you know, serve fresh produce and have it right at their homes."

In the past year, Kroger has closed two stores in southeast Raleigh, prompting concerns about the ease of access to healthy food choices for residents who live in those areas.
Experts say Raleigh is becoming short on whole food providers but heavy on local convenience stores and fast food restaurants. The result is known as “food deserts,” and it is a growing problem in North Carolina.

State Rep. Yvonne Holly, D-Raleigh, is trying to find a solution that targets food insecurities.

"A lot of times you go places and grab something on the go and there is nothing but junk food,” she said.

Holly has started a committee to study food deserts and find solutions to problems that prevent residents from getting the healthy foods they need.

Watson is happy to know he can rely on buying fresh groceries every Friday, thanks to Grocers on Wheels delivery service.

"If they couldn't come out, that would be detrimental to the community because they're serving a purpose. They're serving a need," he said.


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