Food insecurity is plaguing communities across the U.S. As grocery and gas prices continue to rise, and the community of San Miguel is no exception.
The San Miguel Market and Deli was the only option for buying fresh produce in the community until now. Dollar General, located just down the street, has begun to sell produce.
Andrew Havard and his wife have lived in San Miguel for 10 years and go to nearby cities when in need of groceries.
"Yeah, everybody has to. Yeah, pretty much," said Andrew Havard, San Miguel resident.
"There's more options in Paso," said Garrett Van Fleet, a San Miguel resident.
He was pleased to hear about the new option.
"Absolutely my wife and I were both excited," said Havard.
This expands the options for fresh produce and increases access, especially for those without transportation.
"...so we don't have to go all the way into Paso if we just need a couple things," said Havard.
In addition to more options he says Paso Robles is also a more convenient stop on the way home. He says with gas prices increasing the need for local produce options in San Miguel is growing.
"They're choosing between spending those limited resources on food, on medicine, on transportation," said Andrea Keisler, San Luis Obispo Food Bank Community Programs Director.
The San Luis Obispo Food Bank identified San Miguel as an area where a significant portion of the population is low income earning and has limited access to grocery stores -- so they provide distribution sites there once a month.
"The food bank by providing these local services in their local neighborhood can help stretch their dollars a little bit," said Keisler.
According to the California Department of Education 92% of students at Lillian Larson Elementary School in San Miguel are eligible for free or reduced lunch, in addition to the monthly distribution they have started a children's farmers market initiative at Lillian Larson Elementary to increase access to fresh produce.
"We find that, especially in the more rural areas of our county, that tends to be the food that people have least access to," said Keisler.
SLO Food Bank is pleased to hear the news of increased produce options coming to the area, but says there is still need and they will continue to provide additional resources to the community.
"We welcome any partners that will improve the access to nutritious food for the whole community, I think that's fantastic," said Keisler.
If you would like to donate or get involved with the SLO Food Bank click here.