The term "food desert" is becoming more common but if you don't live in a food desert, it's hard to know what that means.
A food desert is a geographical area with little to no access to healthy, affordable, nutritious food. People that live in these areas might have a corner convenience store or gas station that carries milk or limited produce, however, the prices are higher than a traditional grocery store. On a limited budget, that matters. So why don't people just take a bus or public transportation to a grocery store if they live in a food desert in an urban area?
Recently, we gained some understanding on this as MFB participated in a community forum in central Illinois and heard from a public health official (story here). While public transportation is an option there are several hurdles to make that work. Do the bus routes and times align with the workday hours? It can take hours to take a bus route or routes to get to a store and back home. Is there time to get that done? What if you have a couple of kids or an infant? What if the weather is bad and you have to take a few hours, with children and still have to carry whatever you buy? All of those scenarios may be possible but are they realistic?
Here at Midwest Food Bank, we continue to learn and understand the struggles of people that live in food deserts and with food insecurity. We ask you to join us in praying for ways we can continue to reach out and show compassion. Donations matter, too, in any amount. We are thankful for your consideration as we bridge the gap.