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Organizations helping Hickory Hill families amid Family Dollar closures

Disinvestment in Hickory Hill over the years has left families without easy access to grocery stores after all Family Dollars in the Mid-South close indefinitely.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The indefinite closure of all Family Dollar stores across the Mid-South is shining light on a problem that's been going on for years in Memphis: the lack of access to food in several communities.

For years, Hickory Hill has been dealing with food insecurities. The nearest full-service grocery store is at least a 40-minute walk for people without a vehicle.

In the heart of Hickory Hill, there are at least five Family Dollars within walking distance of several neighborhoods in the community. Many people depend on their neighborhood Family Dollars to be accessible because there are no other stores around.

Alexis Gwin-Miller with the Power Community Development Corporation has been pushing initiatives to help the Hickory Hill community, but said a lasting change will only happen if more money was invested into the area.

"It's really important for people to know that we have to address food insecurity in our community," Gwin-Miller said. "We can't wait to do that, and not just because COVID came along, but we know in low-income communities and transit communities people are trying to raise children."  

The Power CDC is a nonprofit corporation that focuses on the progression of economic, educational, and social development in the Hickory Hill Community. This organization is planning its first Black farmers market for the community. Gwin-Miller said this project could lead to having a permanent full-service grocery store within the next two to three years. 

"People will have an opportunity to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables and other things the farmers may be marketing as well. And in this first stage, it will look like the typical pop-up experience when, you know, when the farmers are coming," Gwin-Miller said.

The farmer's market is expected to start in the summertime, but the organization wants it to start sooner and be sustainable. Gwin-Miller said community members can help fight food injustice in Hickory Hill by donating to Powe CDC. Click here to donate. 

For a more immediate solution for Hickory Hill residents, a food drive is taking place Saturday, Feb. 26 at New Direction Church from 8 a.m. to noon then volunteers will take a lunch break and start back up from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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