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Group Works To Bring Grocery Store To Tulsa's 'Food Desert'

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

There is new hope for a north Tulsa community that has been considered a food desert for quite a while.

A Save-A-Lot store, just like the one in west Tulsa, could be what’s needed to give north Tulsans the access to better food they need; but it won't just be a city leader decision, the community will have to get on board.

North Tulsa is growing, but there's one major thing still missing.

"It's top on our list to make sure we get that grocery store out north," said Sherry Gamble-Smith with the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.

The nearest full-service grocery store is miles away, and, for many people, transportation is a problem, so a grocery store round trip can take around two hours on the bus.

Gamble-Smith said, "Some of them don't even have jobs. All they have is food stamps, and you can't pay Uber."

Gamble-Smith is working with City Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper to make north Tulsa healthier. Having access to fresh produce and meat will do that - that's where veteran-owned business Honor Capital comes in.

7/13/2016 Related Story: Neighbors Weigh In On Plan To Improve North Tulsa Neighborhoods

"What we do is we look for areas that have been deprived of access to fresh affordable food and are considered a USDA food desert," said Tony Borchers with Honor Capital.

 They've opened four Save-A-Lots across the country, including one in west Tulsa, and they want to open the fifth in north Tulsa.

Borchers said, "One of the first things you see is a full fresh produce section."

The business owners haven't nailed down a spot but they've been looking at locations in north Tulsa around MLK and Peoria.

The biggest concern now is will the community buy into the idea? Time will tell.

But to make it work, Gamble-Smith said the community and city have to come together.

"We are the ones that do not have the resources that we need to live healthy," she said.

Community members are urged to write city leaders to help push it along. The Greenwood Chamber is working to invite a group of north Tulsans to the west Tulsa Save-A-Lot to get a closer look at what could come their way.

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