Health Department

For tens of thousands of Erie residents, access to healthy, affordable foods is a real challenge. Food deserts, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), are an area where at least 33% of residents live one mile or more from the nearest grocery store or supermarket. Erie County has 10 food deserts, 7 of which are located in the City of Erie. Accessing healthy, affordable food is a problem for over 22,000 residents living in Erie’s 7 food deserts – with another 77,000 living in areas surrounding one.

Food deserts tend to be more concentrated in low-income, minority neighborhoods where residents often lack access to a vehicle or reliable transportation. With fewer supermarkets and grocery stores, and a higher concentration of small convenience stores located in food deserts, access to healthy, affordable foods is a growing problem. Without access to the foods that make up a healthy diet, individuals are more likely to be overweight, experience poor health, and have increased risks of many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Instead of corner stores catering to the highly processed, packaged, high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar foods and drinks, we’re working to make healthy, sustainable improvements in our community through education, promotion and community outreach. The Erie County Department of Health works directly with corner store owners located in or near Erie’s 7 food deserts to address the issue of access to healthy foods. In order for people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, healthy choices need to be available and accessible. Each participating store owner has agreed to stock a number of healthier food and beverage options (fruits & vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, etc.).

Additionally, store owners are provided with resources and education regarding SNAP and WIC benefits, nutrition and physical activity, proper handling and storage of fresh produce, free promotional materials and signage to alert the customer that healthier food options are available, and much more.

So how do you know if you live in one of Erie’s 7 food deserts? The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas is a free tool that allows you to see the location of food deserts anywhere in the country – you can even search by address. This tool allows you to see areas of low income and low access (by distance and vehicle access), in addition to census information by clicking a given area.

If you live in a food desert and want access to healthy affordable foods, there are a number of corner stores that are stepping up to fulfill that need. Some corner stores have been in business for a relatively short time, while others, like Serafin’s Food Market, have been loyally serving the Erie community for nearly 90 years.

The following stores have agreed to stock healthier food and beverage options (fruits & vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, etc.):

Serafin’s Food Market
601 East 24th Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday: 8:30 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: (814) 456-7653
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT and WIC authorized location
Deli/Grab 'n' Go
Catering
24-hour ATM
Lottery
Western Union
Bill Payment Center
Bus Passes
Money Orders
Phone Cards/Prepaid Phones
Postage Stamps
Fax/Copies
Apartment Units
Laundry Mat (Ash Street Laundry)

One Stop Shop
2401 Parade Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Phone: (814) 455-8111
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT Authorized Location
Bill Payment Center
Cell Phone Activation
Hair/Beauty Supplies
Lottery

One Stop Shop
1029 Parade Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone: (814) 455-3990
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT Authorized Location
Bill Payment Center
Cell Phone Activation
Hair/Beauty Supplies
Lottery

Orsini’s Corner Market
560 East 5th Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: (814) 454-1299
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT Authorized Location
Fresh Meat & Produce
Deli
Lottery

New Sara’s Market
460 East 12th Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Sun: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Phone: (814) 452-1057
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT and WIC Authorized Location
Halal Meat/Food
Ethnic Foods
State Street Market
1002 State Street, Erie, PA
Store Hours:
Mon-Thur: 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 9:00 am - 12:00 am
Phone: (814) 459-2881
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT Authorized Location
Halal Meat/Food
Ethnic Foods
Way 2 Go
1002 Liberty Street, Erie, PA
Phone: (814) 881-9190
Additional Services:
SNAP/EBT Authorized Location


Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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