Program brings healthy food to food deserts in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- El Amigo Supermarket in Berclair had all the typical items you'd expect to find in a convenience store.

But recently owner Yousef Alabsi added some new things to his store.

“Customers were asking about vegetables and fruit but I didn't have the experience to do it,” said Alabsi.

WREG was told this area of Berclair is known as a food desert meaning there isn't a major grocery store or farmer's market nearby.

Thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control, the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South has stepped up to help Alabsi give his customers what they want.

"We worked very hard with signage and placement and logos and so forth so that people would have a healthy choice when they come into your typical convenience store or corner store,” said Keith Johnson.

Bananas, apples and even some frozen vegetables were brought in for the neighborhood.

Alabsi said now the problem is keeping the bins full.

He said his customers want the fresh options.

And the YMCA , he told WREG, was teaching him how and what to stock.

"They helped me with inventory,” he said. “They showed me how to do and we worked together."

El Amigo was the first market to partner with the YMCA in ending food deserts.

They said if the program proves to be successful here, the plan is to expand to other markets across the city.

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