WEBB, Miss.—The rural and sparsely populated Tallahatchie County is home to around 14,000 residents and contains five cities: Charleston, Sumner, Tutwiler, Glendora and Webb. For a long time, Supervalu in Charleston was the only grocery store in the county. Depending on where someone lived, they would need to drive at least 15 miles for fresh fruits, vegetables or a pack of meat. A handful of Dollar Generals also pepper the area, but the community is essentially food insecure.
“Most people there would generally have to have transportation in order to get somewhere; there is no public transportation,” Marquitrice Mangham, a Webb native, told the Mississippi Free Press. “It also has more than 60% low-income households, so you have a really high SNAP or EBT participation rate.”
“A lot of households and individuals plan their trip,” she continued. “They (get) groceries around the first when they get their benefits or whenever they get their SNAP benefits. That’s primarily the time that they’re going to get everything they need for a substantial part of the month.”
Mangham, a third-generation farmer, is an urban planner by trade and the founder of In Her Shoes, Inc.. One of the nonprofit’s focuses is providing resources to minority, low-income and homeless populations.
“Being that I’m from that area, I’m very familiar with the needs of the people,” the nonprofit founder said. “Our organization started to do work in the community, and we first started out with the housing program. But we quickly began to get chatter from the residents in the community that (they) need a grocery store.”
In January 2021, the organization acquired a building in Webb and began working with USDA and other entities to look for resources to bring another grocery store to the area. COVID complications pushed back the timeline for the project, but a year later, on Oct. 14, 2022, Farmacy Marketplace opened its doors.
Mangham said the store has gotten
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