Once a month, Ray Barnes drives some of his house tenants to a grocery store to stock up.
“They buy as much as they can, and they don’t’ have to worry about riding the bus, or taking it on the bus, or a bag breaking or all the other little things that can happen between a grocery store and home,” said Barnes, who owns Handley Antiques in the Handley – Meadowbrook neighborhood of Fort Worth.
Until a few weeks ago, residents still had a neighborhood grocery store within walking distance, but the Fiesta Mart on Meadowbrook closed just a few months after the Neighborhood Walmart did the same.
“I really hate this grocery store closed,” said Vera Collier, who lives in the neighborhood.
“It’s hard on a lot of elder peoples,” said Collier. “It’s hard on me too, know what I’m saying? Because it was affordable.”
Many people now drive miles to Arlington or the Mid-Cities for their groceries.
“Now we have to go way down on Eastchase and spend a little bit more money,” said Collier.
Others take the bus to go grocery shopping, but that’s not always easy.
“They don’t let you carry a lot of groceries on the bus no ways, so it’s kind of hard,” said Launda Thomas, who takes the bus because he doesn’t own a car.
Fort Worth City Councilwoman Gyna Bivens represents the area and is working to attract another grocery store to the Handley Meadowbrook neighborhood.
“This is our neighborhood, and the fact that we lost two of our stores it’s just a cutting feeling if you will,” said Bivens.
But other options are also being explored.
“One of those options could be mobile food carts, one could be co-ops, we’re trying to get community gardens,” said Bivens.
“I have a lot of senior citizens here. When it comes to tradition we go to a store, open a door, and push a cart, so I don’t think anyone will want to see that go away,” said Bivens. “But I also know that we have a lot of millennials here, and they might just go to a vending cart if you will because we changed zoning two years ago to allow for those mobile vegetable carts.”
Bivens is starting to plan three town hall meetings in March to talk about the problem, and search for possible solutions.
“There are all kinds of ways to bring food to people,” said Bivens. “We’ve got to figure out what those are, and what’s going to work best for the East Side of Fort Worth.”