Did you know there's such a thing as a food desert? I didn't either, until I moved into one. As defined on the USDA website, food deserts are "urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options." Plains, Kansas does not have a grocery store in town. For Plains residents to go buy groceries, we have a 28 mile round trip to the closest store.
Now you might be wondering, "What does a food desert have to do with Christmas giving?" The Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains is raising funds to bring a grocery store to our town. It's time for my annual Christmas sale and this year all profits will be donated to the enhancement foundation to help bring a grocery store to Plains. The books you purchase through my website, any of my ebooks purchased through Smashwords or Amazon, and print copies bought through Amazon and CreateSpace will all contribute to this donation. I'm also going to include profits made through my Sanalbereth Souvenirs estore.
Why does it matter? Good question. It may not seem like a big deal to have to drive out of town to buy groceries. If you've got a good car and the conditions are nice, it can sometimes be a little adventure. Especially if you stop by the park with your kiddos before doing your shopping. But let's change things up a bit. Let's say the kiddos are having a bad day. Or maybe it's snowing, sleeting or even just raining. Maybe you've got some engine troubles. Your car does okay over a couple miles, but the longer the distance the worse your car does. Or maybe, you don't have a car at all. If you're living on a tight budget, the money you'll have to pay for gas to get to the store might take away from what you have available to purchase groceries with.
There are a lot of reasons why having a local store is important. Many groups are working to bring grocery stores to areas considered food deserts. Our community enhancement foundation is one of those groups. Not only would we have convenient access to groceries, but the plans are to make this store a learning center as well. Classes would be offered on healthy eating, food preservation and cooking. There would even be make-and-take classes so you can either freeze the meal at home to save for a later date or cook that evening. Delivery options will be set up to provide groceries to elderly and disabled patrons. There is a pharmacist committed to provide prescription pick-ups at certain times, which would eliminate the need for traveling 28 - 44 miles (round-trip) depending on a person's insurance. The grocery store will be run by the non-profit Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains.
This year as you do your Christmas shopping, why not give a gift that keeps giving? Your purchase will give someone a book that they can read and enjoy over and over again. It will also provide funds to bring a grocery store to a community which needs one.
If you want more information about the Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains, or wish to make a direct donation, contact me and I can get you in touch with the foundation's president.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius