Living in my box.
I am like many in Mississippi, I go to work, take care of my children and try to accomplish the most I can each day. I live in my own little box, living my life and getting through each day, not really thinking about how others are doing the same but under much different circumstances and surroundings.
I have two daughters and one son, Jessica, Courtney and Garrett. Courtney, like Jessica, played soccer and loved it! We traveled all across the state playing soccer.
When it came time to look into college opportunities, Courtney wanted to look at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. We made an appointment and went for a visit. We drove up Highway 49, a trip we were quite accustom to making on our many soccer adventures. The change came when we turned onto Highway 49 West.
I made it a habit when I traveled with my kids to keep an eye out for stops, in case we needed snacks, drinks or a bathroom break. That is what made this trip different, there was nothing for miles and miles and I mean NOTHING. In my little box, my coastal hometown, there is a convenient store on every corner. That is not the case in the Mississippi Delta. Until I saw with my own eyes and experienced it, I did not have an appreciation for this convenient access and option to accommodate various food needs for myself and my family.
I remember thinking, "I wonder where they go to get groceries? They must have to thoroughly plan out a day trip to the grocery store, literally there and back; if you have a mode of transportation." This is another thing that I know I take for granted because my car is always in my driveway. I do not think twice about jumping in my vehicle and running to the store because I have that option.
It is quite easy to go back to my little box and not think about those that have to go on a road trip to get to a store; if they are lucky enough to have a car. However, people in our state should not have to do that, there are solutions and options that the American Heart Association is currently working on during this 2015 legislative session. There are ways that we can help those in areas where healthy food is hard to access.
Legislation introduced by Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, could help entice grocers to move into neighborhoods and communities that are underserved and impoverished. Senate Bill 2840 would provide tax breaks to grocery stores in economically distressed areas in an attempt to retain existing supermarkets, as well as attract new ones.
Click here to read more about this proposed legislation on ClarionLedger.com.
--Article written by American Heart Association, Mississippi State Advocacy Committee Chair, Kerry Caldarelli, Long Beach