MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Wednesday marked a major step in addressing an issue ABC24 is focused on in Memphis: food deserts, the areas where full grocery stores and access to fresh produce doesn't exist for miles.
After months and months of setbacks, a new mobile grocery store opened its doors and registers to customers and neighbors alike in North Memphis. The store will also roll into and set up shop in other communities in the weeks ahead.
Organizers said the effort is feeding an important need and making underserved communities healthier in more ways than one.
Vivian Bolden, a longtime leader in the Klondike community, showed off her groceries and gushed with enthusiasm after shopping at the store on Jackson Avenue.
"It's a big game changer. It's going to help the community a lot," Bolden said. "It's very good. It's a wide variety of everything in there."
The Klondike neighborhood became Memphis' latest food desert - without a full grocer option for miles - following a 2021 store closure just down the street.
"With Gordin's closing and other a lot of other stores closing the challenges just grew and grew and grew," Bolden added.
But the opening of the mobile grocery store eases some of those challenges, with local grocer Cash Saver providing their food and vegetables at comparable prices.
"We needed a low cost grocer that could really come to them and have the convenience of shopping in their own backyards," The Works, Inc. President Roshun Austin said.
The Works, Inc. is a community development group focused on healthier food options and improving quality of life.
"Many of our neighbors die or suffer from diet-related disorders and they have shorter life spans because of that," Austin added.
The mobile grocery store won't stay put for long, with plans to set up in South Memphis, Frayser, and other areas of North Memphis in the weeks ahead.