A non-profit grocery store in North Waco opened on Monday, giving residents living in that neighborhood access to healthy foods.
Before the Jubilee Food Market opened, the closest grocery store for residents living near North 15th and Colcord Avenue was several miles away. That area was considered a food desert because a grocery store or an area where healthy foods are sold is more than a mile away.
"By the very opening today, the food desert is over because people have access to healthy and affordable foods,” Mission Waco’s Executive Director Jimmy Dorrell said.
The Jubilee Food Market, which is a Mission Waco program, offers cheaper prices than grocery stores and gives residents access to fruits and vegetables. The organization received donations and in-kind donations from 468 people totaling more than $868,000 to make the project possible.
“Today was a fulfillment of a dream. For so many years, I've watched our neighborhood walk two and a half miles to go to the grocery store,” Dorrell said. “Today, when I walked in the store, I knew they could get fresh prices, good deals, fresh bread, and produce and vegetables."
During the soft opening, the first customer at the grocery store was Dorrell’s granddaughter.
Several North Waco residents including Lucas Land shopped at the grocery store with his wife and three children on Monday.
"We love the work that Mission Waco does. We love our neighborhood so we are excited to have a grocery store really within walking distance,” Land said.
Latrice Coufield who works across the street from the market at the World Cup Café also purchased some items at the Jubilee Food Market.
"It's closer and from what I've seen, the prices are cheaper,” Coufield said.
Land anticipates the market having a positive impact in the neighborhood.
"A lot of times when people don't have access to a grocery store like this, people have access to junk food and food that is not very healthy,” Land said. “This gives people access to healthier options so I'm excited about that.”
Dorrell said Baylor University students have conducted research regarding current eating habits and the amount neighbors spend on food. A year from now, more research will be conducted to see the impact the opening of the store has had on healthy eating.
During the soft opening, the staff worked through some glitches. Dorrell said products are still arriving at the store and employees are still undergoing training.
"In about two weeks from now, everything will be stocked, the staff will be trained. We will be running in full gear," Dorrell said.
The grand opening of the Jubilee Food Market will take place on Dec. 1.
The Jubilee Food Market is located at 1505 Colcord Avenue and will be open seven days a week. From Monday to Saturday, the hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. On Sunday, the grocery store will open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Every member in the community is welcome to shop at the market.
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