OKLAHOMA CITY – After the last supermarket in northeast Oklahoma City said it was closing its doors for good, city leaders are now taking action to make sure that residents have access to fresh food..
Smart Saver, located near N.E. 23rd and Martin Luther King, gave just a few days notice to shoppers that it was closing.
“It sucks to see that the main grocery store our people have to go to is being shut down,” Pallu Isreal, a concerned citizen, told News 4.
Now, there is a sudden food desert in the community, and people say they are completely in the dark about why it’s happening.
“We do not appreciate the sneak attack it came with,” community activist Michael Washington said. “Without giving us advanced warning or notice that they were getting ready to close this store down that so many Oklahomans on the northeast side of town relied on for so many years.”
After the store closed, Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice developed a website to provide information about transportation to full-service grocery stores, food distribution sites and food resources available.
"I formed a Task Force of dedicated, compassionate individuals and organizations, both public and private from the Northeast and greater Oklahoma City area community to help develop innovative solutions and resources needed as we navigate this change in food access," Nice wrote.
The OKC Health Task Force is organizing shuttle resources and other transportation to help people get to a grocery store.
- EMBARK, OU Medicine and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City are operating two temporary free shuttle services to the closest grocery store, the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 2217 NW 23rd Street.
- The EMBARK shuttle will operate every half hour from 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It departs from the former Smart Saver location, 2001 NE 23rd Street.
- The OU Medicine/YMCA shuttle will operate 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. It will make continuous round trips, with the last shuttle departing for the store at 1 p.m. It departs from the Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23rd Street.
- Shuttle schedules may change as demand is evaluated. Visit neokcfood.com for updates.
- EMBARK’s existing regular bus service on Routes 022 and 002 serve the shuttle departure points. Other bus routes are also nearby. Visit embarkok.comfor route maps, schedules, fares and more. The EMBARK Plus paratransit service is also available to qualifying riders.