By Vickey Casey
We’ve all been there. We have arrived at work and realized that we have forgotten our lunch. This harrowing discovery is made worse by the knowledge that today, because why not today, the world has imploded and you will have to work through your break.
“Hangriness” is real and you know going too long without putting something in your too empty stomach will be detrimental to the success of your day and that of those around you.
The lines for food trucks are way too long and again, you only have a few minutes. It’s also winter so standing outside is as appealing as making a lunch out of vending machine food.
Despair begins to set in as your brain attempts to work and seek out food.
If you lived in the UK, this would be less of a problem because in the average CVS or Walgreens like shop or grocery store equivalent there is always a £5 ($10) meal deal available. More specifically a sandwich, drink and snack combination for a low and affordable price.
More importantly, no matter which neighborhood you go to or the socio-economic bracket of the population, this is available.
The same cannot be said about the availability of fresh produce or quick, healthy meals in certain parts of Washington D.C. The lack of these simple but necessary delight are called food deserts.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.”
A key factor of this is food insecurity. The ability to afford fresh produce or privilege of living close enough to a grocery store is not something the residents of D.C. Wards 7 and 8 can boast.
42.2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, according to Feeding America, including over 13 million children. In 2013 D.C. had the highest rates of child food insecurity, 30.5 percent of the District’s 111,532 residents under 18 years old.
Thankfully, there are people working hard to solve these problems including some very helpful BUGs.
Looking for Lunch
For the hungry professional with money to shop at Whole Foods or time to brave Trader Joe’s lines, stopping at a well stocked CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid could do the trick.
Video shot by Jessica McFadden in 2013 when the store opened.
Take the Walgreens in D.C.’s Chinatown for example. The three floor structure has a fancy boutique as its crown, a small and full grocery store complete with a fresh produce section and even a selection of wine and beer. It’s also open until 12 a.m. so those burning the midnight oil can run over an grab some fuel. To be clear there are no simple meal deals here, like those described in the UK, but a meal is still doable.
It’s morning and you’re still not awake. Grab a cup of coffee and a complementary muffin from this location’s bakery.
Want something for lunch? Choose from sushi, fresh soup, wings, wraps, hummus, fresh sandwiches and throw on some fruit. For slightly more sustainable options, choose one of their eight bread options and eight deli meats and make yourself food for days.
Craving something sweet and cold? This location also offers frozen yogurt. How appealing this will be in December is up for debate but it is still an option.
Dinner time and still working? Yea we are too. If you got the loaf and meat, a second sandwich. If you didn’t and want something else, their well stocked frozen isle may home something to suit your tastes. Choose from pizzas, stake dinners, lasagna, hot pockets, lean cuisine dishes and even organic enchiladas.
Oh, did I mention wine and beer?
This Walgreens is very much the exception the exception of the average drug store or corner store rule. For those with money and time to shop here, the options are plenty. But there is still no nicely packaged, money saving meal deal.