Saturday, July 2, 2022

With Tops Market Closed in East Buffalo A Food Desert Re-emerges

Tops Supermarket - Getty
Buffalo Police on the scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, New York – Getty

*The mass shooting in East Buffalo last weekend has left many consequences on its trail, one being the re-emerging of a food desert now that supermarket Tops remains closed. Before Tops Supermarket opened in 2003, residents of the predominantly Black community in the area had to either travel to other non-Black areas to buy healthy food or bear with the less healthy options from the nearby corner stores and gas stations. Now that it is closed, things are back to 2003.

Churches and local organizations have come out to help deal with the food crisis. They have set up a makeshift food bank near the Tops location. An organization such as the Buffalo Fridge has received substantial monetary donations and has since distributed some funds to other local organizations, reports The Black Wall Street Times.

Tops will remain closed until the police get through with the investigation after the White supremacist shooting last weekend. As long Tops remains shut, the same community that lost loved ones in the shooting will have to miss on high-nutrition foods in their homes.

OTHER NEWS ON EURWEB: Buffalo Mass Shooter Wrote Anti-Black Manifesto About ‘Replacement Theory’

Buffalo (Tops) massacre victims
Buffalo (Tops) massacre victims

The USDA says a food desert comes in two scenarios: when a poverty rate in an area is greater than or equal to 20% statewide and when at least 500 people (or 33% of the population of a place) stay more than 1 mile from the nearest supermarket or a sizable grocery store.

“Knowing the density of African Americans on this side of the city and going to that Tops knowing that this side of the city is a food desert was intentional, it was deliberate, and it was evil,” said Ulysees O. Wingo, Buffalo City Councilman. “And we know that because he did reconnaissance the day before to ensure that there were Black folks there.”

Earlier this week, Tops said its store remains under active police investigation. Once that’s done, “we will have a team assess the next steps with the intention of rebuilding and repairing the store for the community in as short a period of time as possible,” it said.

Almost every day, organizations gather to hand out food, and clothes or talk kindly to the residents with kind words. More than 650 people received food on Monday alone within eight hours.

George Johnson, the president of Buffalo United Front, talked to NPR about the situation.

“There’s still a lot of residents that still have to be fed,” he said. “With the market being closed, they can’t get their groceries so we tried to provide different things for them.”




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