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Walgreens an oasis in food desert

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CHICAGO — Walgreen Co. is attempting to alleviate the problem of Chicago’s food deserts by revamping stores to offer expanded food assortments.

Walgreen Co. is attempting to alleviate the problem of Chicago’s food deserts by revamping stores to offer expanded food assortments.

The drug chain has redesigned six stores and has another four in progress on the West Side and South Side of Chicago to incorporate more than 750 new food items, including fresh produce, frozen meat and fish, and other healthful foods.

The initiative is Walgreens’ response to an appeal last spring by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for help in tackling the food deserts — areas that lack access to basic food needed for a healthy diet.

“We immediately made a commitment to seek solutions for offering these communities more fresh and healthy food options,” said Mark Wagner, executive vice president of operations and community management.

The retailer has also joined Northwestern Medicine and Near North Health Service Corp. to pilot a program to educate residents about the link between healthy food and managing chronic diseases.


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