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Senate Hopeful Kander Visits Kansas City Food Desert

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Elle Moxley
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KCUR 89.3
Missouri Secretary of Jason Kander tours Rollin' Grocer, a Kansas City business that provides mobile groceries to low-income communities.

Every other Wednesday, the Rollin’ Grocer truck parts outside the Victoria Arms Building so residents can buy fresh food.

“Kansas City is the No. 6 city in the nation for food deserts,” says Natasha Ria El-Scari with Rollin’ Grocer. “Anywhere there’s more than one mile of walking distance or you have to catch more than two buses to get there is considered a food desert.”

There’s a Thriftway closer than that, but many of the people who live here are elderly or disabled. They’d have to cross 63rd Street in walkers or wheelchairs.

“It’s the type and quality of groceries as well as the grocery store itself,” El-Scari says.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander was in Kansas City on Wednesday to tour Rollin’ Grocer.

“Food deserts are a major problem in low-income communities across Missouri and here in Kansas City,” says Kander, who is trying to unseat U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in November. “It is really exciting to see a program like this, a business like this, that is meant to address that.”

Kander, a Democrat, says Blunt hasn’t done enough to address food insecurity in Missouri.

“There are grant programs through Treasury, through the Department of Health and Human Services, and it’s important that we have a senator who is focused on accessing those grants for communities like this one,” Kander says.

Approximately 15 percent of Kansas Citians struggle to access food.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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