HIGH POINT, NC -- A High Point grocery store is closing its doors next month and some people fear it could create more food hardships for people in the area.
This Food Lion on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive will close on or before June 15.
Their lease is about to expire and the company says it made a “business decision” not to renew that lease.
The store closing is just one small piece of a much bigger problem in the Triad.
Guilford County ranks as the 9th worst area in the entire country for food insecurity!
Carl Vierling with the High Point Food Alliance says 24%, almost one out of every four people in High Point, don’t have access to good, healthy food.
There are currently 7 food deserts in High Point – 24 total in Guilford County, according to Vierling.
A food desert is defined as an area with no access to good, healthy food within one mile.
Thousands of people in Guilford County don’t have their own cars, so they walk to the grocery store or they take the bus.
So when the Food Lion closes next month, those same people will have to travel a lot further to get their groceries.
For some, that’s not easy.
"This store is very convenient because it's right around the corner,” said Rena Dale, a mother of three. “We will definitely have to go further now so that means I'll have to load the kids and go a little further. It's definitely going to be an inconvenience."
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"This is a neighborhood store. It's where I see a lot of my neighbors and people I know in my community who walk around this store and shop around this store,” said Scott Harris. “I'm just really disappointed that the store will be closing. This is our Food Lion!"
Community groups and local government are working to try to improve the hunger problem in Guilford County.
The High Point Food Alliance is working with local churches to create more food pantries for people in need.
But Vierling says it’s going to take a lot more than that to put an end to hunger for good.
“"It's engaging the community. It's about empowerment. It's about bringing people together,” said Vierling. “At the end of the day, we want to see people self-sustaining where they don't have to go to another food pantry again. Food pantries are nothing more than a Band-Aid to a problem. We need to solve the issue. I think about this every day."
One of the churches involved in trying to fight hunger in the area is Williams Memorial Church on Triangle Lake Road.
They started a community petition – trying to keep the Food Lion open.
Pastor Robert Williams says he's worried about the impact the store’s closing will have on the community.
“It hurts when I realize that people have to make a decision whether to pay their light bill or feed their children or keep a roof over their head,” said Williams. “Because Food Lion is moving out of the area, it means it cost them more to purchase food because they have to find transportation.”
A spokesperson for Food Lion issued the following statement about the closing of their store:
"Food Lion has made the difficult decision to close its store located at 3136 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in High Point, N.C., as a result of the lease ending at this location. The store will close on or before June 15. All associates employed at this store have been offered positions in our nearby locations. We appreciate the support of our dedicated associates and loyal customers at this location for many years, and look forward to serving them at one of our other nearby locations, several of which are within a few miles of this store."
Food Lion has two other stores within a few miles.
Those locations are 1107 E Lexington Ave in High Point, and 118 W Main Street in Jamestown.
Food Lion will have five High Point locations after the closure of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive store.
The City of High Point is working to find a new retailer to take Food Lion’s place.
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