An area which has long been considered a food desert is now opening a grocery store. Local groups worked together to turn this project into a reality.
Several people gathered for the ribbon cutting celebration of the store Saturday near Northeast 23rd Street and North Martin Luther King Avenue.
Some said it has been a challenge getting to this moment.
“I feel that it's been hard for this area not having another store,” resident Pamela Walters said.
The last grocery store in this area suddenly closed its doors in August of last year, making it difficult for residents to get fresh food.
Restore OKC, along with Life.Church, worked to the 6,800-square foot store together to help provide access to affordable groceries for the surrounding community.
“By being a non-profit owning a grocery store, we get to bring food costs way down for things that are outside community's reach or historically have been,” Restore OKC Executive Director Caylee Dodson said. “We are just thrilled for what that means in terms of food access.”
According to the groups, research showed an 18-year difference in the life expectancy between northeast Oklahoma City residents compared to wider city and statewide averages due to a lack of accessible, healthy food.
“This is a game-changer,” Jonathan Dodson said. “In terms of just another step within the community, that should have been here all along and hasn't been.”
Life.Church provided a $300,000 grant to help with the effort.
“We were inspired just what they were already doing,” Jon Mays, with Life.Church said. “When we had an opportunity to come alongside them and support the community, we couldn't pass it up.”
The store is set to officially open their doors by the end of this year.