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Is getting to a place to buy food difficult for you? Here’s something that will help

This is what it’s like shopping for groceries in a food desert

Midtown Macon became a food desert when the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue closed in April 2018. Telegraph reporter Samantha Max set out on foot to find groceries near the now-vacant supermarket.
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Midtown Macon became a food desert when the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue closed in April 2018. Telegraph reporter Samantha Max set out on foot to find groceries near the now-vacant supermarket.

The Macon Food Story project will host a free panel discussion on ”Improving Food Access and Health: What We All Can Do” 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Rosa Jackson Recreation Center, 211 Maynard St., Macon.

The community conversation is to tell people what food resources are available and inform others who want to help to improve food access and health outcomes.

Here are some food facts that The Telegraph has previously reported about Georgia and Middle Georgia:

A study by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps found that 23 percent of Bibb County residents are food insecure. The national average is 12 percent of households, or 41.2 million Americans.

One in seven Georgians struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America. More than 500,000 of them are children.

In Georgia, 32 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds are overweight or obese. Such high rates often are linked to lack of access to nutritional foods. In a state that ranks ninth in terms of food hardship, according to the Food Research and Action Center, nearly 19 percent of households with children struggle to afford quality food to feed their families.

Enough Bibb County students face food hardship that the school district qualifies for a program that makes all school meals free.

One area, along Pio Nono Avenue, is considered a food desert, devoid of fresh and nutritious foods within a one-mile radius. Instead, residents are limited to convenience stores and discount shops, where options are minimal and prices often steep. Macon’s food deserts have grown in the past year.

At Thursday’s community discussion, light refreshment will be provided and the discussion will start at 6:30 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Macon Food Story, a joint project among the Center for Collaborative Journalism, The Telegraph, GPB Macon and 13WMAZ.

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