Mayor Richard M. Daley today thanked Walgreens for expanding its food selection in 10 stores located in Chicago neighborhoods identified as “food deserts” -- areas with limited availability of the kinds of foods people need to maintain a healthy diet.
“This is a great step forward in meeting this challenge, and I want to thank Walgreens for its commitment to making Chicago a better place and helping Chicagoans to live healthier lives,” Daley said in a news conference held at one of the newly-expanded stores located at 1533 E. 67th Pl.
The Mayor said the City has long been committed to working with grocery stores to ensure all residents have access to full service grocery options.
“But, of course, grocery stores aren’t the only places that sell food items and some months ago I met with Walgreens about what role they could play in making a greater number of healthy foods available in their stores all around Chicago,” Daley said.
As a result, Walgreens officials said, the company immediately made a commitment to seek solutions for offering these communities more fresh and healthy food options.
Through a partnership with Northwestern Medicine and Near North Health Services Corporation, Walgreens is also helping to inform residents about the importance of healthy eating through its new “Food Oasis” program.
Daley said the expansion of food buying options by Walgreens complements many steps the City has taken to encourage the same thing throughout all areas of the city.
- The City Department of Community Development has sponsored two grocery expos in the past four years at which local and national grocery store representatives learned about potential sites in underserved markets of Chicago.
Of six sites specifically discussed at the 2008 Grocery Expo, two are well on their way to receiving a new full service grocery store: a new Aldi store in the Roseland Plaza, 115th St. and Michigan Av. and a Pete’s Fresh Market at Madison Street and Western Avenue.
- In June of last year, a state-of-the-art Jewel store opened at Marshfield Plaza at 119th and Marshfield, bringing a grocery store to an area that had not had a full service store for years.
- The City is working with Food for Less, Save A Lot, Jewel, Roundy’s, Aldi and Moo and Oink to expand in underserved areas of the city, such as North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, Austin, Washington Park and Woodlawn.
- The City Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning is conducting research about how to comprehensively address urban agriculture within city limits, for both for-profit and non-profit enterprises.
The research is determining how urban farming could effectively provide new uses to existing vacant lots, promote entrepreneurship and economic development opportunities and provide a healthy, local source of food for residents.
- And through September 30, the Department of Family and Support Services is coordinating Mobile Food Pantry events to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and non-perishable food products to residents who reside in areas with limited access to mainstream grocery stores.
“So we are making progress, but we have more work to do,” Daley said.
“Thanks to Walgreens and Northwestern, the residents of another neighborhood will now be able to do their daily shopping close to home without having to travel miles to buy groceries,” he said.
The expanded food selection is now available at the following Walgreens locations:
- 2340 W. Madison St. (Madison St. & Western Ave.)
- 10300 S. Michigan Ave. (Michigan Ave. & 103rd St.)
- 1533 E. 67th Place (67th Place & Stony Island)
- 1213 W. 79th St. (79th St. & Racine Ave.)
- 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave. (Cottage Grove Ave. & 51st St.)
- 8636 S. Ashland Ave. (Ashland Ave. & 87th St.)
Four additional locations will be completed by next week, including:
- 650 W. 63rd St. (63rd St. & Halsted Parkway)
- 2015 E. 79th St. (79th St. & Jeffery Blvd.)
- 11040 S. Michigan Ave. (Michigan Ave. & 111th St.)
- 5222 W. Madison St. (Madison St. & Laramie Ave.)
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