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Volunteers team up for free 'mobile food market' in Norfolk

Norfolk's St Paul's Quadrant is considered a food desert after the only grocery store in the neighborhood, Save-A-Lot, closed permanently, last week.

NORFOLK, Va. — It's something a lot of us take for granted--access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

People in the St. Paul’s quadrant and surrounding community are living in a food desert.

The Save-A-Lot on Church Street shut its doors last week. It was the area's only fresh food option for the thousands of people who live in nearby public housing communities.

"Save-A-Lot closing... It hit us hard," Norfolk resident Annette Taylor said.

So volunteers teamed up for a free mobile food market, delivering fresh produce for hundreds of people in Norfolk's St Paul's Quadrant neighborhood.

RELATED: St. Paul’s community forms coalition to combat food insecurity in Norfolk

Lavonne Pledger helped organize the drive.

"I've had a couple residents who were out here since 6 a.m.," Pledger said.

For him, it's an issue that hits close to home.

"I live in Young Terrace which is right on the other side of Olney Road," he said. "I'm a resident here, helping other residents."

Helping others by providing immediate help, until a more permanent solution to the food desert is found.

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander is promising to help.

"My promise to you - we are committed to open a store here and we are committed to opening a store in Berkley," Alexander said. "And we will have this done." 

But until then, volunteers say they will continue to work.

"This is a blessing from the heavenly father," Taylor said. "This is a blessing."

The South Eastern Food Bank of Virginia and Solid Rock Worldwide Outreach Church collected the donated food, and volunteers passed it out to residents who drove up or walked over for assistance.

Volunteers also delivered boxes of food and supplies for those who couldn't make it out.

RELATED: Norfolk grocery store's closing creates another food desert

RELATED: Closing grocery store in Norfolk's St. Paul's neighborhood leaves residents without access to nearby fresh produce