DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Amid concern over Dayton communities becoming food deserts, Premier Health today announced a $400,000 donation towards an up and coming grocery store.
The new grocery store is called Gem City Market. Officials say the store comes at a crucial time for Dayton- as a grocery store burned down in the east and another store in the west announced it’s closing.
Food For Less caught fire, last month. It was one of the only grocery stores in that area.
“I mean, everybody went there. All of the houses around here, that’s where everybody went to all of their groceries,” Area resident Elizabeth Anders said.
Another resident, Cheryl Walker added: “I think more needs to be done. There’s a lot of old people here that nobody’s thinking about.”
Across town, just two weeks ago, west third street’s Aldi grocery store announced plans to close.
Premier Health officials say its these events that have encouraged them to providing funding towards Gem City Market.
Former U.S. Ambassador and founder of Hall Hunger Initiative, Tony Hall said food hardship in Dayton is a big problem.
“We are standing together saying that we’re not going to have the state’s largest food desert,” Hall said. “Daytonians, they deserve better. Almost one third of our families with children, they struggle with a lack of food.”
Gem City officials say Dayton cannot become a healthy and vibrant community if it’s struggling with food hardship. Board Member Lela Klein thanked Premier for the funds.
“We know that a community like Dayton needs a resilient, local, healthy food system and we are excited to play a part in that,” Klein said. “We could not be more grateful to Premier, both for their generous gift, but also for their partnership.”
The grocery store is planned to open on Salem Avenue in 2019.