Filling the Supermarket Void in North Charleston

October 20, 2017, 10:23 am EST | Share:

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — We have been following plans to attract a grocery store to North Charleston’s empty Shipwatch Square. Until then, one local nonprofit is helping residents receive the groceries they need.

Leroy Moore has the key to a room full of supplies many people take for granted.

“Dry food. Down here we have water,” he said as he showed us shelves in a room of a community food closet.

As the community resource counselor for Tri-County Family Ministries, he’s one of the workers in charge of the agency’s food pantry.

“We’re waiting on some more shipments to come in,” Moore said.

Directors for the non-profit group say up to 150 grocery bags are given out every week.

“Over here we actually have some bags that are prepared to pass out already,” he said.

Leroy sees more people asking for help. He’s convinced the so-called food desert on Rivers Avenue is forcing more neighbors to walk through the door.

“We do help out a lot of people who don’t the finances at all. But I think a lot of it would be, could be better if we had a grocery store in this area,” Moore said.

“I’m not going to take away anything that’s been attempted in the past. But I think that they need to be more aggressive,” said State Representative Wendell Gilliard.

Gilliard believes North Charleston city leaders need a new strategy in developing Shipwatch Square. He faced a similar problem after Bi-Lo closed on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston in 2016.

While he says plans are moving forward for another food store, he thinks a different plan is needed on Rivers Avenue.

“Put together as investors to create a grocery chain and then train in house people, natives, from the city of Charleston and North Charleston to be entrepreneurs,” he explained.

For people like Leroy Moore, he’ll continue to feed the hungry.

“It’s important to have access to the things that they need in the community,” he said.

Delores Dacosta, executive director of Tri-County Family Ministries say the need for food and clothing will be greater because the upcoming holidays.

If you can donate, you’re asked to contact them at tricountyfamilyministries.org.

For now, North Charleston city officials say they’re still committed to attracting a supermarket to Shipwatch Square.