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Wichita City Council approves $1M for healthy food access

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Thousands of people in Wichita are unable to get fresh healthy food on the table with many not having quick access to a supermarket. On Tuesday, the city council approved $1 million in American Rescue Act funds to help get healthy food to those in need, but what are they doing now?

“This is a critical moment and we can talk about this we can talk, but in the interim, we need to be doing something,” said CEO of Common Ground Producers and Growers, Donna McClish.

McClish has helped to get food on people’s tables since 2014 with Common Ground’s mobile markets.

“Food is just as important to me in my opinion to the infrastructure as roads bridges and broadband,”

Donna McClish

The city council approved a master food plan back in January, but they are still taking the steps to reach the goals of the plan, such as identifying the need and providing the food, which McClish says Common Ground is already doing.

“We need the resources to ramp up, I need like 3 or 4 more delivery trucks and vans,” said McClish.

“If it weren’t for the efforts of Donna or the Salvation Army or some of our churches that have food pantries and tried to expand those services people would be even hungrier than they are now and we have to find a way to help. I do believe that common ground growers and producers is that solution,” said Wichita District One City Council Member, Brandon Johnson.

Now that funds are approved, there are still steps needed to be done for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative Program, such as appointing a committee and finding who will invest in adding a store.

Even though funds are approved, the program won’t be ready until 2023.

“The hard answer is well nothing right now it just means we are going to keep doing this work and I think people want to see when are you going to find somebody that can bring me my produce today and that is what we are working towards,” said Johnson.

Common Ground recently got a new cooler to help feed more people.

Johnson said he will continue to support Common Ground and other partners helping to feed as change slowly comes for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative Program.

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