Pop-up grocery store helping to fill food void for residents on Chicago's West Side

Pop-up grocery store helps to fill food void on Chicago's West Side

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A brand new pop-up grocery store has opened in West Garfield Park. It's intended to be an alternative option for West Siders during the planned closure of a Save-A-Lot store undergoing renovations.

In the two days they've been open, the Garfield Park Grocery Store pop-up says they've already seen over a hundred residents coming through their doors. 

They seem to be quickly catching on in the neighborhood. While it's just a pop-up, organizers say it's a one-stop shop on a greater quest to open up a permanent grocery run for the community, by the community. 

The stream's Jamaica Ponder has more. 

"I would say the nearest grocery store to where we are right now is two miles in any direction," said Angela Taylor.

This new grocery store on West Madison is more than just a good idea.

 "This is our community's response for not having a grocery store."

The one grocery store they did have in Garfield Park recently closed for renovations.

"Save-A-Lot closed early and left us with no grocery store, and we felt it was time for us to stand up and do what we've been doing. Fill in that gap," Taylor said. 

Pop-up grocery store helping fill food void on Chicago's West Side

The Garfield Park Community Council, where Taylor is wellness coordinator, sits at the helm of a group of community organizations backing the pop-up.

"And we're very proud to be sitting here to help Angela and the rest of the community activate this vision of access to fresh produce."

Ayesha Jaco is the executive director of West Side United. They've got funding from the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation - $50,000 that's being funneled into bringing this pop-up to the neighborhood for the next month and a half. 

Taylor: We needed to do something to make sure the community had access to fresh food.

Jaco: Garfield Park has the lowest life expectancy on the West Side compared to downtown, and when we talk about food access and its connection to the life expectancy gap, it is a factor.

Taylor: We want to make sure they have access to be able to do that and not have to run into other communities all over the city. 

While this shop may be brand new…it's far from Garfield Park Community Council's found themselves behind the register.

Taylor: What we've done over the last 12 years, is host the neighborhood market from June to October, twice a month we kind of started learning this process to build out what the market looks like.

Consulting years of data, their team developed an inventory that caters to the neighborhood's tastes and preferences.

Taylor: We know residents are familiar with, is what we're looking for, because that's what community told us.

Sourcing the bulk of their goods from local purveyors of whole, foods, home-grown fruits, veggies, dairy and meat.

Taylor: That are right here in our neighboring communities. If they're not right here in Garfield Park, so we run out of fresh produce, we run right down there and get some more.

Organizers say they want Garfield Park residents to feel like they can find whatever it is they need right here in their neighborhood.

Taylor: We should be like every other community, have access to things that are going to make us hold in healthy, and well. 

The West Garfield Park Grocery pop-up is part of a larger initiative from the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collective.

They're set on revitalizing the Madison and Pulaski corridor which hasn't seen any major investment since the riots that broke out after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. We're talking about 55 years of divestment.

Now, thanks to these community organizations and coalitions, multi-million-dollar plans are coming to life real tangible infrastructure and resource hubs all with the interest of shortening that life expectancy gap.

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