More than 20 million people in the U.S. don’t have regular access to healthy food, but one convenience store in Jacksonville is looking to change that.
Moore’s Mini Mart in Jacksonville used to be right in the middle of a food desert.
“A food desert is an area that’s identified by the USDA as having limited access to healthy foods or to grocery stores,” said Robin Seitz, Onslow County Public Health educator.
The mart received a $25,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
“In order to qualify, the stores had to be in a food desert,” said Seitz. “They had to be a small store less than 3,000 square feet, and they had to be able to receive WIC and SNAP benefits.”
The grant allowed the convenience store to purchase a refrigeration system that lets them stock fresh produce.
“When you stop into work, if you can get a fresh fruit instead of a bag of chips, that would be good for you and good for your family to shop here,” said Craig Moore, owner of the store.
The Moores are now providing healthy options for their neighbors.
“If we can sit there and get these kids or families to pick up a fresh apple, instead of a processed food, and get them to come here and eat that while they’re going to school or to work, we did our job,” said Moore.
Those in the community are grateful for the chance to eat healthy.
“They love it,” said Moore. “We hold specials and everything. Later on down the road, we’re trying to make it almost like a Farmer’s Market.”
Other convenience stores located in food deserts across eastern Carolina are welcome to apply for the same grant when it becomes available again.