The Salvation Army in partnership with the city of Baltimore and the Maryland Food Bank opened its first full-service grocery store on March 14 in Baltimore, Maryland, with the goal to end food deserts around the nation.
A food desert is as an area where affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet are not readily available to consumers, according to the CDC.
Unfortunately, that's the case in northwest Baltimore. Now, residents will be able to buy affordable foods, receive job training and meal planning at the DMG Foods (also known as Doing the Most Good) grocery store.
Food deserts have been attributed to a litany of health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure in low-income black and brown communities. These neighborhoods may have a surplus of convenience stores but lack grocery stores within a reasonable distance. So, residents turn to the junk food provided in convenience stores because there are no other viable options.“If this works, Baltimore wants us to open two or three more stores,” Maj. Gene A. Hogg, the Salvation Army’s Central Maryland area commander, told HuffPost on Monday.
Prior to the store opening, it served as a Salvation Army warehouse. It has been repurposed, renovated into a high-end grocery store with a butcher, salads, and pre-made meals provided by the Maryland Food Bank.
Couldn't be happier about our partnership with the @SalArmyCM first grocery store, DMG Foods! The grand opening was a huge success, and a great path forward for creating a healthier Baltimore.— Maryland Food Bank (@MDFoodBank) March 9, 2018
Watch @CBSbaltimore' coverage of the grand opening: https://t.co/nKKP2idYcS#MyBMore pic.twitter.com/2Cj5kuOCiG
“The idea is to strengthen the family table,” he said. “We want to do more than just sell groceries.” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was on site to inspect and cut the ribbon for the store's grand opening.
Honored to cut the ribbon on the new DMG Foods! Congratulations to the @salvationarmy on their first non-profit grocery store! #DMGFoods #SalvationArmy #MyBmore #MovingBaltimoreForward #MayorPugh pic.twitter.com/c9rQEGGlyf— Mayor Catherine Pugh (@MayorPugh50) March 7, 2018
In order to provide better for options low-income communities, location matters. Hogg said that the store is near a school and easily accessible to parents picking up their children. This store is only the beginning, Pugh said.
“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,” she said, according to local station WJZ.