The Arena Foundation has partnered with Little Red Box Grocery, a neighborhood grocery store in Houston, TX, working to address the endemic issue of food deserts, starting in the city’s Second Ward. Arena Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Arena Energy, LLC, a leading independent oil and gas exploration company focused on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf.
Launched in May, Little Red Box Grocery is bringing healthy and affordable food to the Second Ward, an area that has been designated by the US Department of Agriculture as a “food desert,” which is defined as a low-income community where a substantial number of residents cannot easily reach a supermarket or large grocery store.
The Second Ward, like other food deserts, has low access to fresh, healthy foods but high access to unhealthy alternatives. That has led to higher-than-average rates of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.
Little Red Box Grocery Owner Samuel Newman opened the 800-square-foot retail location as a “third place” for the neighborhood. “We wanted to build a store for everyone. A true gathering spot for Second Ward residents and a counterpoint to current neighborhood grocery offerings that are either inconvenient or offer high costs and poor choices, specifically when it comes to fresh produce and pantry essentials,” said Newman. “Little Red Box is grateful to have this sustained and committed support from The Arena Foundation, which will help us offer more products to—and provide better service for—our customers and our community.”
“The Little Red Box Grocery store is bringing healthy, affordable and convenient food to an area that has gone without for too long,” said Arena Foundation President Ben Pigati. “Arena’s roots in Houston run deep, and we are proud to support Little Red Box Grocery as they work to fight food deserts here in our hometown and beyond as they expand into future areas of need. Approximately 40 million Americans including 5 million Texans live in food deserts with little access to healthy food options. This must be addressed, and we are grateful the Little Red Box Grocery team is working towards a solution.”