INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Greg Ballard says the city will watch the neighborhoods that recently lost their Double 8 food stores.
City leaders will monitor requests for help from parts of Indianapolis where grocery stores are now even harder to find.
In July, Double 8 announced it was closing the stores at 3902 North Illinois Street, 555 Fairfield Avenue, 2947 North Sherman Drive and 2907 North Dr. Martin Luther King Street.
Local pastors have offered shopping shuttles to help people living in those neighborhoods.
Demand for those rides has not been “overly large,” Ballard said.
“We’re going to see in the next week or so whether that increases or not,” he said.
Ballard said the city will need a more long term solution than a shuttle service.
“If we can get to a place where (a store) can stand on its own or we can get to a co-op or some other thing,” he said, “that would be great.”
The closing of the Double 8 stores renewed concerns about “food deserts” in Indianapolis. Food deserts are neighborhoods with no grocery store within walking distance.
“We’ve always had a bit of food desert, as most cities do. We don’t have nearly as much as some other cities do,” Ballard said.
Ballard emphatically added “I don’t want people to think that nothing’s being done.”
He described a partnership of people fighting hunger in Indianapolis. He said they have provided 40 million meals over the last five years.
“All the food banks and the pantries are working together,” he said, “to make sure these things get to a certain point and it’s been rather dramatic. It’s really one of the good news stories. “