According to the Kansas Health Institute, Wyandotte County ranks 97th out of 105 counties that lack access to healthy food choices.
One woman said her struggles started a few years ago when the store near her home shut down.
Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Wyandotte County is filled with empty store fronts. Some homes are even boarded up.
Janet Fondren lives in Juniper Gardens, a neighborhood just off Quindaro and Second Street in northeast Wyandotte County. She said there used to be a store nearby, but it closed down.
"We don't have a ride to get our groceries," she said. "It's hard trying to find a ride."
The nearest grocery store to Fondren is five miles away - on foot, it's about an hour and 20 minutes away. Beyond that grocery store, the next closest is about seven miles away - a two hour and 15 minute walk.
"It's a food desert," Melissa Robinson with FREE KC said. "The "FREE" stands for "Food, Recreation, Education and Environment."
FREE KC is committed to providing people access to healthy food options. Robinson is part of a group of six people from the metro who are looking to make a difference in the community. The six people began building a team aimed at decreasing obesity in targeted areas after finding correlations between food deserts and obesity.
The group, along with community partners, explored what they call online 'virtual' grocery as a means to provide residents with healthy, fresh, and affordable food.
"There are people that live there and we have to make sure individuals have access to affordable groceries," Robinson said.
It's a task she and her group take very seriously, but they said the process is slow.
While Fondren appreciates help from her friends in taking her to the store, she hopes that a store that is closer to home will soon open up in her neighborhood.
"We have to call people to take us to the grocery store and it shouldn't be like that," Fondren said.
Throughout the course of FREE KC's project they said many successful steps were taken to improve access to a grocer, through on-line and telephone ordering, for residents living in a food desert in northeast Wyandotte County.
Right now, residents can have their groceries delivered by Hy-Vee. It normally costs $25 for each delivery, but Hy-Vee discounts the fee to $12 per delivery for those who apply for the discounted rate.
Robinson said FREE KC is working on applying for grants that would eliminate the delivery fee for residents altogether.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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