INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 28, 2015) -- A series of meetings is bringing the community together after the sudden closure of Double 8 Foods stores across the city.
The fourth in a series of emergency meetings took place Tuesday at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church on the near north side. Joyce Moore, with Urban Patch, organized the meeting just a block away from one of the closed stores.
"We need to work on something that's going to be able to sustain the neighborhood," Moore said.
Double 8 Foods, a locally-owned chain, closed all of its four stores suddenly Thursday, citing financial difficulties. The closure left neighborhoods near the stores without a grocery store in walking distance, causing a crisis for low-income and elderly residents.
Moore and other leaders said the closure was a wake-up call to a problem that had already existed for decades in some neighborhoods.
"It shouldn’t have made a difference if it was one or zero (stores), we didn’t have enough. But to have none seems to have been that critical tipping point to really get people engaged," Moore said.
Around 70 people showed up to the meeting Tuesday, ranging from city and community leaders to people who live in the area. One woman said she had young children and didn't have the time or resources to go miles away to get to the store.
Ideas for a solution ranged from a co-op store, to farmer's markets, to attracting a new business at the old location.
Whitney Fields, with the Indy Food Council, spoke at the meeting about other options available to residents. Fields called the closure a "blessing in disguise," saying it finally woke people up to the food desert problem that has been causing other issues, like poverty and crime, across the city.
"It starts the conversation. Community members can get together and talk about these issues that have been present long before (the) Double 8 closures," Fields said.
For more information or to contact Moore to help out, go to the Urban Patch website here.
If you or someone you know needs help accessing food, you can call 211 or visit the Indy Food Council website here.