National Culinary Month – Food Deserts
By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact
Have you ever returned home from the grocery store and realized you forgot an important item or ingredient? It can be the most frustrating thing at times. Especially, when we spend time preparing for the trip, traveling to the store, shopping for goods, and returning home. For some in our catchment area that requires hours, substantial money, and resources. This is because they live in a “food desert”. According to Wikipedia, a food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast with an area with higher access to supermarkets with fresh foods, which is called a food oasis.
Much of our service area would be considered a food desert and the cost of purchasing food is higher. This causes a financial strain on individuals and families trying to make ends meet. Access to food is an essential service that everyone should have access to and we have several community partners aiding in this effort. For example, UWSWA Partner Agencies Feeding the Gulf Coast, AIDS Alabama South, American Red Cross, Mobile Community Action, VIA, Health, Fitness and Enrichment Center, The Salvation Army, United Cerebral Palsy, Catholic Social Services, and Southwest Alabama RSVP offer programs that address food insecurity in rural areas. This is accomplished through the support of the UWSWA campaign and corporate sponsors. If you want to be part of the solution with addressing food insecurity and food deserts, please consider volunteering with one of these agencies or hosting a mobile food pantry in your community. For more information on food pantry volunteer opportunities, visit www.uwswa.org and click “Volunteer”.