CHICAGO (CBS) — Access to food in the city’s food desserts is being made that much harder by this past weekend’s violent unrest.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reported Monday evening, grocery stores have been forced to shut down in the neighborhoods that need them the most.
In the chaos of a violent weekend, South Side grocery stories were vandalized and looted even as late as Monday afternoon.
“It’s a free-for-all,” said David Robinson of South Shore.
Robinson kept his distance from the Jewel at 75th Street and Stoney Island Avenue.
“Windows had been completely smashed,” Robinson said. “The building was defaced.”
Now in the South Side neighborhoods that struggle as food desserts, the few limited stores are boarding up and shutting down for the moment, like South Shore’s Local Market.
“We are concerned about our workers and our shoppers, so we are taking the necessary steps to make sure both parties are OK,” said the Local Market’s Marvin Brown.
“The food access is not only limited, it’s now nonexistent,” said Amena Karem of Feeding South Shore.
Karem partners with the grocery to bring 1,000 meals a week to those in need.
“The elderly, medically fragile, low-income families,” she said.
The program is now on hold for this week.
As we spoke in the market’s parking lot, a considerable police presence kept gathering crowds off the property.
“Unfortunately, because of the rioting and looting, this store has to close short term,” Karem said.
Karen Pearson is one of the Local Market shoppers caught in the middle, with no easy access to food now.
“It’s been six years since they had a store in this location,” Pearson said. “Once they came, I was so happy. I don’t know what I would do.”
“It bothers me it’s closed, because a lot of people don’t have accessibility to get to another store,” added Dorothy Davenport of Bronzeville.
Outside Bronzeville’s damaged and shut down Jewel , Dorothy Davenport worries about those who can’t simply drive to a far off neighborhood.
“There are a lot of immediate needs, and a lot of people don’t have the accessibility to get the items they are seeking,” Davenport said.
Complicating this mix, the stores in these challenged neighborhoods are closing on the first of the month – the day funds arrive for government-assisted food programs.
For many of those families, their food supplies were already low.