After the last major grocery store closed, one Chicago suburb has been labelled a “food desert” by some residents.
That community, Calumet Park, is located south of Chicago alongside Interstate 57. The town’s last grocery store, Ultra Foods, abruptly closed after the chain declared bankruptcy last month, and it’s left residents struggling to find fresh food to purchase.
“There’s not a close neighborhood store to go buy meat, or the little things that you need without paying a high price for it,” resident Latonia Lee said.
Some residents have taken to going to grocers like Jewel and Aldi after Ultra Foods closed, but for the 21 percent of Calumet Park residents that don’t have access to a car, that simply isn’t an option.
That group includes plenty of senior citizens, some of whom have been getting by with free groceries from a local senior citizen's center.
"I live in a senior citizen's building, and we have no community store anymore," one resident said. "It hurt a lot of people when Ultra closed."
For those residents, gas stations and fast food chains are the only sources of food, and some residents are hoping that will change in the near future.
“We’re hoping they can come up with something,” another resident said. “People deserve to eat healthy.”