Chicago Food Deserts Grow on City’s South Side Due to Looting During Recent Protests

What happens when a “Food Desert” is looted and has nothing left for those who live there? Well, some South Side, Chicago communities have even fewer choices for groceries after violence during the protests for George Floyd’s death. 

For local residents, it’s a reality that is hitting home hard and fast! “It’s kind of a sad thing to think about,” said resident William Wright. “I take my grandma here every Sunday.” His local grocery store was Jewel on 75th st. 

As video on social media and news outlets show, the store, amongst many other was ravaged by looters. 

“It’s not what you do. It’s how do you do it,” Wright said. “What did we accomplish, aside from take our property value down and embarrass ourselves?”

Wright’s family and so many others are trying to figure out which stores on the South Side are even left right now.

Chicago now has food deserts in places that weren’t food deserts before, which is a scary thought. The size of these areas should be decreasing, not increasing. 

“Bronzeville Mariano’s was looted, the Walmart on 47th was looted. Jewel,” said activist William Calloway. “People that don’t have a car. People that do not have family and friends. Some seniors can’t travel.” 

“Now you have to go out of your way to get this stuff,” said activist Emir Lions.

News cameras were able to catch a few seniors taking buses and even walking for miles to get necessities no longer available in their community. Calloway said neighborhoods without access to pharmacies or grocery stores could get worse if the city doesn’t find solutions soon. “If you have people that are hungry, that are quite angry already, that could escalate to something more disastrous.”

The biggest fear is that many of the looted stores simply won’t recover. And that would devastate not only individual communities on the South Side but the city of Chicago as a whole.