According the American Nutrition Association, food deserts are parts of the country vapid of fresh produce and healthy whole foods. This is due largely to a lack of grocery stores, farmers markets, and other food providers.
The USDA outlines a map online that shows three areas in the Treasure Valley dealing with this. A portion of Canyon County and two areas in Ada County are considered food deserts according to the USDA.
"There's a food desert that exists in Boise between Vista Avenue and Roosevelt from Overland to the canal just below the rim. This is considered a food desert by the USDA. A food desert is designated based on income levels, accessibility to food. There's a variety of factors that come into play. In this area, there's about 10,000 residents that live in that area of Boise," said Ralph May, executive Director, St. Vincent De Paul.
May says their food pantry on Overland Road serves 1,000 and 1,300 families per month.
"The fact that we have a below average income level in this part of Boise. We have a high, a lot of kids that fall under the poverty line," said May.
May says the food pantry in particular was placed in the area because it's a food desert. The pantry offers a clients a personalized shopping experience.
"Anything is helpful right now and whatever they can offer, I'm happy," said Jeremy Cohen, Boise resident.
"Recently unemployed and things have been tough. It's right before Christmas so we've been looking for a little bit of help and that's all it's been," said Cohen
In a time of need, it's a life saver.
"The idea of all of this is just to get rolling back again and keep your shoulders high, think positive, and everything will work out," said Cohen.