In Nampa's Food Desert, Hospitals Team Up With Free Shuttle To Grocery Store

Jan 17, 2018

After two grocery stores closed in Nampa in 2016, it created a food desert for residents who used to walk to the markets. Fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods have since become virtually inaccessible for people without reliable transportation.

A free program that launches in February aims to fix that problem. St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus hospitals are partnering with the Boise Rescue Mission to provide a free shuttle to Winco on Garrity Boulevard.

“We look at it [for] the health benefit," says Jean Mutchie with St. Luke's, "but we also believe that people should have the opportunity to live their healthiest life.”

The hospitals pooled $5,000 to launch the program. She says the idea for it came from three studies that showed similar needs among Nampa residents.  

“They struggle with transportation, affordable housing, access to food, and then just equity in a general sense.”

The hospitals will also provide nutritionists to help guide folks.

“You really can shop healthy on a budget," Mutchie says. "It just takes some better planning and so we will have them have seasonal recipes available and also talk to them about how they can pre-make meals that they can freeze.”

The shuttle will run from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. every Saturday in North Nampa beginning in February. Mutchie says the shuttle is a three-month pilot program, but they hope to expand it if the demand is there.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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