Author Archives: goreckisarah

Whole Foods Could Save Englewood

Crime is normally the main conversation when bringing up Englewood, but recently the addition of Whole Foods to the community is. Three problems are facing this community in concerns with Whole Foods: poverty, unemployment and obesity. Although one problem could be seen as the cause of another, Whole Foods actually may be the solution.

Problem One:Cost

The opinions of community members have been mixed about Whole Foods but the concern seems to be mostly about cost. According to city-data , Englewood’s median household income is $24,049 compared to the city of Chicago’s median income which is $43, 628. Furthermore, according to city-data, 49.5% of Englewood’s residents are below the poverty level. Whole Foods is more expensive than regular grocery stores because it sells organic food.  However, herein lies both a problem for the economic problems and a solution for healthier food options. Recently, the president of Whole Foods stated that prices in this store would be a little less. According to Chicagobussiness.com, Whole Foods is the most expensive of any other store for basic needs like milk and bread.  How much will Whole Foods lower their prices to ensure the residents of Englewood can afford their produce? That is what Darlene Wilson worries about as well. Wilson, a grandmother and legal guardian of a 13-year-old is retired and volunteers in her spare time.

“I can’t afford that store,” Wilson stated. “How are they going to bring in a store like that? They can say they are making it cheaper but it won’t be enough. I’ll still get my groceries at the cheap stores,” Wilson said.

However, Wilson’s daughter and mother of three, Toya, disagrees. “This is what we need,” Toya said. “If Whole Foods says they are going to lower it I want to see what it’s about. My kids need more options,” Toya stated.

Problem 2: Obesity

There are currently 9 different food markets or smaller convenience stores in Englewood, but none like the mostly organic Whole Foods. According to the Childhood Overweight Information, 48% of children are considered obese in Englewood and the community has high rates of obesity among adults as well.  The survey also provided by the Childhood Overweight information showed that for 89% of caregivers, eating healthy is a matter of price.

Unemployment

These two problems of limited options and unhealthy eating habits could potentially be relieved if Whole Foods can accommodate the community’s needs. Additionally Whole Foods will be helping with job opportunities. According to the City Data Portal, 21.3% of Englewood’s residents are unemployed. With the success of Whole Foods could bring new businesses.

The addition of Whole Foods does pose its problems but overall it brings more opportunities to a community that needs it. Jobs will be attained which will help with poverty issues. Once people can afford Whole Foods, they can eat healthier and help the community members of Englewood lead healthier lives.  Toya Wilson agrees that this could be the change that is needed. “I don’t eat healthy and I know I’m overweight,” Toya said, “If I have more options, I can give my kids more options.”

Below is where the Whole Foods will be built.

These are children at school, candy is being used to help them pay attention.

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One student reacts to the talk of healthier food options.

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Two Plus One

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I took this photo because it is one of my favorite views in Chicago. Some of the trees are changing colors but the sun was bright enough that it reminded me of summer. 

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The Japanese Garden is a place I go to clear my mind. It is always surprisingly quiet and without visitors when I go. 

 

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I edited this photo to emphasize the blues in it. Its a spectacular view of the city and in this shot makes it seem so disconnected from everything else. 

Englewood Mass Shooting

Blurb

It was a warm summer night on September 19. Families and friends were enjoying a basketball game at Cornell Square Park when shots were fired around 10pm.  Almost two weeks later and 5 men have been charged with the mass shooting.

 

Mass Shooting

There were no fatalities, but 13 people were injured including a 3-year-old boy. Deonta Howard was shot in the ear and the bullet exited through his cheek when he was playing basketball. Thankfully, there was no brain damage but Howard will have to have plastic surgery for the next 15- 20 years.  In an interview on September 26, Deonta made his first appearance since the shooting and sang “May the good Lord bless you” into the microphone. His strength is remarkable, but it is unfortunate that this type of violence isn’t shocking to many community members.

Government Reactions

 A name of a community has become the label for expected violence. Although the crime rate has decreased since 2012, the Englewood community still has a long way to go.Below is a map of Robbery alone in the last two weeks, most are armed. Superintendent McCarthy and Mayor Emmanuel have both used this mass shooting as a platform for gun reform.  Both have agreed that if the men who carried out this crime had been put away longer for their previous crimes that this wouldn’t have happened.  While the community is looking for change, events like this shooting put them in the negative light once again.

Community Needs

On September 12, 2013, R.A.G.E. spokesperson wrote in her Mrs. Englewood blog of all the positive activities happening in Englewood. What I found most interesting is that she wrote specifically about parks in Englewood and there underuse. The need for upkeep of parks is apparent but the need for safety is even more prevalent.  Englewood can change but there are still multiple actions that need to take place:

  • Harsher sentences for offenders
  • Gun control
  • More resources in the community
  • Building positive relationships with youth

The list is short for now, but until these basic things happen we are leaving Englewood behind. This shooting on September 19 is a reminder that Englewood should be a priority.  

 

Here is the data retrieved from Chicago City Data Portal showing the robbery crimes in the last two weeks. 

 

 

Englewood Can Change

I have always felt giving back to my community was the best way to change the world. Everyday I watch the news or go online and I see all the bad things happening in the world. Although there are many problems that most people can’t change directly, you can start within your community. For Chicagoans, there are plenty of opportunities to give back and change the city around you.  A subject often seen in Chicago news is the violence in Englewood. Although the crime is high in Englewood, the community itself has a lot of great people working to make it a better place. As a mentor in Englewood, I witness first hand the struggles of some of these people as well as the triumphs. One of the programs in Englewood is R.A.G.E. This program does all it can to help the residents of Englewood and make it a better place.

Helping programs like R.A.G.E or volunteering in the Englewood community is a way to help fast track that change. I read blogs and news articles crying for change but until more people help, and witness the good in Englewood, we will still see violent crime.