Food Bank director Peggy Kirkpatrick has said that "pockets of poverty" in the food bank's 32-county service area have more to do with receiving the mobile pantry than the local food desert designation.
Youssef El-tayash has owned Campus East Foods at 408 Locust St. for more than 25 years. The store specializes in food from India, Pakistan and Eastern Europe. El-tayash came to Columbia from Libya in 1979 to attend college.
He understands the "food desert" label. "In downtown, there's lots of students who don't have a car," he said. "They bike. For them, it's difficult" to get to a large grocery store.
Campus East Foods doesn't stock fresh produce now, but his store will be moving in two months and will stock fresh fruits and vegetables after the move.
Chong's Oriental Foods has a variety of food, fruit and produce that is shipped weekly from Chicago. Owner Chong M. Sin has been in business there for 21 years. The fruit and produce available at Chong's includes melons, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, apples, plantains, fresh spinach and more.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.