A new take on charity: TV star turns New Orleans grocer

A new take on charity: TV star turns New Orleans grocer

Wendell Pierce's new chain of grocery stores will bring fresh produce to New Orleans' food deserts. Image: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034361412@N01/558333048/">Rick (Flickr)</a>
Wendell Pierce's new chain of grocery stores will bring fresh produce to New Orleans' food deserts. Image: Rick (Flickr)

Years after the disaster, people are still turning challenges into opportunities in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

One man, Wendell Pierce, also known as Detective William “Bunk” Moreland on HBO's The Wire, is trying to bring something to the community that’s been lacking for more than 20 years—a grocery store.

It seems simple, but access to fresh, nutritious food is key to stemming the cycle of poverty.

In an interview with Tess Vigeland of Marketplace Business, the New Orleans native talks about how his decision as a businessman was also motivated by a desire to good for the community.

If not me, if not now, when? If not here, where? The other thing is, in difficult economic times, always invest in food. That’s the one thing we can’t go without. So I thought it was a really good business decision. People have to eat or they die. Make it affordable, you know. There’s going to be a need and a demand that’s not going to go away...And the thing I realize now more than ever, as I become more of the American businessman and the capitalist, you can do well and do good.

With so many overwhelming challenges facing the world, Pierce's thinking brings a perspective as fresh as the produce he plans to sell: do what you can, where you are, right now.

You can listen to the full interview here.

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