The Salvation Army and the city of Baltimore have joined forces in efforts to make healthier food options accessible and affordable for individuals living in underserved communities, the Huffington Post reported.
On Wednesday, the organization opened up a grocery store in Northeast Baltimore that sells fresh produce and meats, the news outlet writes. At the store—dubbed DMG Foods—shoppers have the opportunity to learn more about healthy eating and create personalized meal plans with nutritionists that work in the city’s health department. Individuals who use food stamps will be able to take advantage of discounts. The grocery store also plans on hosting cooking demonstrations led by guest chefs and will provide food samplings throughout the store.
Maj. Gene A. Hogg, who serves as the area commander of the Salvation Army’s Central Maryland location told the Huffington Post that the success of this store will determine whether or not they will open up others. He added that he wants DMG—which stand for “doing the most good”—to be more than just a grocery store and be utilized as an establishment that fosters community. Outside of providing nutritional education, the store will establish a job training program and create career opportunities for local residents.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh believes that the grocery store is a great addition to the community. “This serves as a beacon for the rest of this community. If we can do this here, we can do this in other parts of the city,” said Pugh, according to the news outlet. The idea for the store stemmed from the need to address issues related to food deserts and poverty. According to the Huffington Post, individuals in the Northeast Baltimore area would have to travel at least a quarter of a mile to go food shopping.
Food deserts are an issue that is affecting cities across the nation. A 2017 report revealed that Milwaukee, Wisconsin has more tobacco retailers than access to healthy food for its residents.