GASTONIA, N.C. — A Gastonia grocery store set to close soon will leave many without a way to shop for fresh foods nearby. Save-A-Lot on West Franklin Boulevard serves mainly low-income neighborhoods, where some residents don’t have transportation.
But now, it's shutting its doors for good on Oct. 2. Now, many are worried this will create a food desert for part of town.
“Those neighbors around the Save-A-Lot are some of our homeless families, some of our families that are doubled up, some of our families that probably don’t have their own transportation," said Gale Manning, a food pantry coordinator with the Bountiful Blessings Food Ministry.
Neighbors who live in the west Gastonia neighborhoods said the store's closure will affect many.
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"It's hurting a lot of people," said Helen Tindall. "Some of them can't get over it. It means so much to them."
Tindall has been shopping at the store since it opened about a decade ago. Her grandson, who passed away four years ago in a car crash, used to be the manager at the store.
"I have asked for the Save-A-Lot clock just in remembrance of him," said Tindall, who enjoys shopping there to honor her grandson.
The nearest grocery store to the Save-A-Lot is a Food Lion, according to navigation apps like Apple Maps. It's less than two miles away, but it's a 30-minute walk. Manning worries that will be difficult for people carrying groceries, but she says the food pantry is ready to help families in need.
“The good thing about it is that we’re on the bus line and they can walk also," said Manning. "But we will be here to meet them with open arms. We will feed them.”
Bountiful Blessings is already feeding more than 2,000 families every week. The pantry, operated by the Mt. Zion Restoration Church, relies on volunteers and is also in need of donations.