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Grants Available for New and Current Grocery Stores in Food Deserts

State Senator Doris Turner is pushing to assist local grocers in updating their equipment to energy-efficient models. The move is part of the Illinois Grocery Initiative and aims to tackle food deserts across the state by ensuring continued access to fresh produce.


Turner says, that in the effort to eliminate food deserts, it's crucial that Illinois empowers the local grocers. The initiative seeks to address the financial burden faced by small community grocers due to rising energy costs, which often result in outdated equipment.


Under the Equipment Upgrades Program, eligible grocers can apply for grants to upgrade various systems, including heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and lighting, with the goal of achieving significant energy savings. The program targets independently owned grocers with fewer than 500 employees and no more than four stores, with priority given to those situated in USDA-defined food deserts.


The focus is on supporting businesses in need, said Senator Turner. By bolstering economic development in these areas, Illinois can effectively combat food insecurity.


To aid applicants, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will host webinars on January 31st and February 8th. The deadline for online grant applications is due by March 25th.


The Equipment Upgrades Program marks the inaugural initiative under the Illinois Grocery Initiative, which seeks to address food insecurity by bolstering local grocers and reducing food deserts. Questions regarding the Illinois Grocery Initiative can be directed to CEO.GroceryInitiative@illinois.gov.


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