Beloit food pantries see uptick in months following grocery store closure

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BELOIT (WKOW) — There’s no longer a grocery store on Park Avenue in Beloit, and Caritas Food Pantry is feeling it.

“There is void,” said pantry Executive Director Max Dodson. “And it sits on a high traffic corner.”

Dodson says since Save-A-Lot closed in June, the pantry has seen a big uptick in people walking through its doors.

“We have served 700 families in our community,” he said. “That’s up from the first six months, where we were serving about 600.”

The Save-A-Lot used to be where an entire section of the city got their groceries. It had low prices and was right in the middle of a neighborhood, so it was easy to walk to.

“Save-A-Lot met the needs of the community,” Dodson said. “The Beloit bus system is really good, but if I can walk to a grocery store, I’ll do it.”

The other grocery options in Beloit are outside of the heavy residential area, essentially creating a food desert.

As many turn to Caritas, the pantry is working to keep up amid a major setback: An accident in August totaled their only truck — which brings food to Caritas and out to those in need.

“We’re now looking at 7 weeks of rental that we never planned for,” Dodson said. “Because of the unexpected expenses, we’re in a cash-flow situation that any help whatsoever, both with the truck and with any donations, would be more than appreciated.”

In a statement to 27 News, the City of Beloit said:

“We certainly recognize the impact the loss of Save-A-Lot had on its customers. Should a grocery operator express interest in locating to the city, we would welcome that opportunity. The city takes great pride in collaborating with businesses to ensure the process of locating in Beloit is done with care and with ease.”

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