KILLEEN, Texas — The closure of an H-E-B in October left what is commonly called a food desert in downtown Killeen.
A food desert is an urban area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food.
The H-E-B closure at 809 N. Gray St. along with the closure of a nearby IGA Foodliner in August made it so the closest H-E-B for people living in the area was more than two miles away across I-14.
Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick said several businesses have looked at renting the building where the H-E-B was located but none of the prospective businesses are grocery stores.
After a 6 News report on the impact of the closure, H-E-B Public Affairs Specialist Johnny Mojica sent us an email detailing how the company has tried to help the community.
"We have distributed over $50,000 in gift card donations to Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas, Bell/Mill County Indigent Health Care Program, Central Texas Homeless Coalition's Fall Stand Down, Fort Hood Food Pantry, Killeen Food Care Center, Killeen Free Clinic and several smaller food pantries across downtown Killeen," said Mojica.
According to Killeen city officials, H-E-B was losing thousands of dollars and had no choice but to close.
“They marketed and did everything they can, and they lost thousands of dollars each month," said Kilpatrick.
Mojica said H-E-B also partnered with food banks in Killeen to offer free monthly food distributions from the parking lot of the store.
"At these distributions, we served in total over 1,500 people and provided over 3,000 complimentary bus passes for residents in need of transportation assistance," said Mojica.
Kilpatrick said he hopes to see Killeen as a destination city and points to the highly anticipated opening of the Mounted Warrior Museum, which will be filled with exhibits that focus on telling the stories of soldiers who have served on Fort Hood.
"It will bring in approximately 150 to 180 people into this marketplace in Central Texas and we anticipate it being a $5 million enhancement to our income," Kilpatrick said.
Mojica said H-E-B has contributed $150,000 to the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.
Popular stories on KCENTV.COM