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More than a grocery store: “I watched it build a community. We fought hard just to get that store there."

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Posted at 11:33 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 09:48:44-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The Tops on Jefferson Avenue was more than a grocery store to many.

"We were just beginning to build this community,” Clare Saxton said. “We fought hard just to get that store there. It was a nice store, it was a lovely store.”

The store, built about twenty years ago, took away the 'food desert' label from the Masten District community.

The next closest grocery store is about two miles away.

"Across town and a lot of people don't have transportation,” Dorrain Roundtree said. “They have to catch a bus and stuff like that." Saxton said she used to walk to the grocery store.

"Every week. Twice a week,” Saxton said. "It was my community store and I have to go far away now just to shop."

There are corner stores in the district, but Council Member Ulysees Wingo says that does not cut it.

"Corner stores don't have fruits and vegetables,” Wingo said. “They have high fructose foods, foods with a lot of dyes in them."

"Now people around here, especially older people, gotta go far, far,” Saxton said. “This community truly is a desert." Saxton said she feels like part of the community's identity has been taken.

"That was a symbol of the community, of all the hard work we put into getting that,” Saxton said. “It took a long time to get that."

If you live in the district and cannot find your way to a grocery store further away, each day from 9 am to 9 pm, FeedMore WNY will host a food distribution at 347 East Ferry Street.

You can also contact the Buffalo Creek Academy to have groceries delivered to your home.