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South Shore Grocer Partners With Instacart To Bring Relief To Food Desert

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For six years the South Shore neighborhood had no grocery store. It was a food desert. Now a local grocer is turning things around with a little help from Instacart.

Local Market opened in December of last year. During the pandemic, the store had to start its own grocery delivery service to make sure the most vulnerable in the community could get food. Now on June 24, that's going to change because of a partnership with Instacart.

South Shore resident Amena Karim was the driving force behind the effort to make sure Instacart grocery delivery was available from Local Market for those in South Shore. Karim says there will now be food equity, with one click for customers.

"I want to thank Instacart for stepping in, stepping up and supporting a vulnerable community that has gone through so much from the pandemic, to the looting, to having a food desert for six years," said Karim.

That's how long South Shore was without a major grocery store after Dominick's closed, adding to the food desert problem in the community. Local Market co-owner Eva Jakubowski and her husband Cezary worked for about two years with the city to open the location in South Shore.

"This store was desperately needed in the community: the easy access, availability of fresh food, specifically produce, prepared meals, fresh bakery, fresh deli, fresh meat, fresh dairy," said Eva Jakubowski. "These are all the staples that are definitely needed, and for many of our community members, there was not an easy task, easy way to get these products."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Karim started the Feeding South Shore program and partnered with Verizon to make sure the most seniors, those with low incomes and children, received enough free groceries to feed a family of four each week. Local Market employees did the deliveries. Those deliveries end to Thursday as Instacart gets ready to provide grocery delivery starting Wednesday.

"We are absolutely thrilled," said Jakubowski. "We are so happy to have this platform because especially for us being a local community based store, this is something that we always wanted for all of our customers: the ability to provide them with the basic necessities, especially now when they are concerned about their health."

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