Posted by For Richmond, May 28, 2013.
For Richmond coalition members say the new Grocery Outlet, which opened last week at San Pablo Blvd and Macdonald Avenue, is an important addition to Richmond and will be a valuable asset for the community’s improved health.
The new, 14,000-square foot grocery store, 12010 San Pablo Blvd., is now one of few full-service grocery stores in the Richmond city limits. In addition to 99 Ranch and FoodsCo, most other food vendors include small convenience and drug stores that sell mostly processed foods.
“Having a full-service grocery store that provides this community with access to fresh food is a step in the right direction for Richmond,” said Don Lau, Executive Vice President of the YMCA of the East Bay and the chair of the For Richmond coalition. “Part of the problem with communities that have low-income families is that they are traditionally food deserts. It’s so important that, no matter what the family’s income level, they are able to access fresh, healthy food.”
Richmond has such a dearth of healthy grocery options that the U.S. Department of Agriculture actually labeled it a “food desert,” which is the government’s term used for low-income communities that are located more than a mile from full-service grocery options.
Food deserts are problematic because they force families to shop from convenient stores that sell mostly processed foods, which are loaded with fats, sugars and the preservatives linked to chronic health problems.
The new Grocery Outlet is opening just in time. Earlier this year the YMCA was awarded an 18-month, $150,000 grant to boost existing programs in Richmond that are working to improve health and reduce disparities related to chronic diseases, such as Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, in African-American and Latino populations.
For Richmond leaders wrote a letter in support of the grant, which will focus primarily on improving the health and wellness of communities in the Iron Triangle and Coronado neighborhoods.
Healthy foods are a key component to a community’s overall health, while increasing access helps guarantee success, Lau said.
“Nutrition is a major component of the overall health equation,” Lau said. “And the For Richmond coalition believes that all residents in Richmond deserve to live life to the fullest regardless of where they live or who they are.”