WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – People on the south side of Warren are living in what’s known as a food desert, which means options for fresh food are limited or non-existent.
With winter setting in, having healthy food options within walking distance is imperative to many in need. That’s why the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP) and many local convenience stores are teaming up to help.
Most recently, the Pit Stop neighborhood corner store on Youngstown Road is now part of the “Good Food Here” program.
The program is part of the statewide Healthy Food Retail initiative that helps make healthy food options affordable and accessible at corner convenience stores.
Good Food Here stocks fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods such as whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and low-calorie and low-sodium snacks.
Pit Stop is currently under new ownership and wanted to start offering healthier choices for its customers, but they aren’t the only ones.
Six months after TNP began offering the program to local convenient stores, six of the 45 stores in Warren have signed up.
TNP Executive Director Matt Martin said setting up the “Good Food Here” program is more feasible than bringing in a grocery store.
“I think what a lot of organizations in other cities do is kind of write those corner stores and establishments as not being part of the solution, which we found is a complete mistake. Places like the Pit Stop Number One are willing to be a partner in increasing food access,” Martin said.
Martin said the cost the fresh food offerings for customers are comparable to grocery stores or cheaper.
“It’s good for the community. Instead of buying chips, they can buy apples and bananas. Most foods in corner stores have no nutrition at all,” he said.
In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, Pit Stop plans to open a deli counter soon.
TNP Coordinator Christian Bennett said 50 percent of Warren is considered a food desert, with the entire southern portion of the city lacking a full-service grocery.