Stewart Co. officials address food insecurity
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - According to the 2020 census, 35% of the population in Stewart County, just south of Columbus, lives in poverty.
Poverty is causing a lack of access to health food officials there are using CDC funds to tackle the issue.
Stewart County resident Latoya Clark is one of the many people who noticing the lack of food resources in the area.
“We just need more stores in Stewart County,” said Clark.
Vanessa Royal-Chelle agrees, adding that the community could really benefit from a neighborhood grocery store.
“If we could get a neighborhood Walmart that would be great,” said Vanessa Royal-Chelle.
Having to drive nine miles away to Columbus to buy food and even clothes, she says it’s time for a change.
“It hadn’t ever really been too many grocery stores here in Stewart County. When I was younger...it was maybe one or two but they was more expensive,” said Royal-Chelle.
Stewart County manager, Mac Moye, says he’s well aware of the increasing poverty issues in the area. With only one grocery store 9 miles away from the county courthouse, he says the long commute can be costly for people.
“They have to spend a significant amount of their income...just to get a ride...pay somebody to come and take them to the other side of the county to get groceries,” said Moye.
To deal with the lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, Moye says the county is using a CDC grant to start its third community garden where people are able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the community center.
“What we want to encourage is people to eat healthy foods and healthy cooking,” explained Moye.
In addition to the community garden he says there are walking trails to encourage people to exercise.
Stewart County’s manager says anyone without transportation trying to get to the grocery store can call a ride through the county’s Transit Authority.
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