gloriamarshall2

This is the second post in our series, Faces of Change. Click here for the first post.

For about 15 years, residents of the Northside of Binghamton, NY haven’t been able to buy fresh fruit, vegetables or meat without taking a bus or cab to grocery stores in other areas. But, because of the work of one Northside resident and a group of passionate and unrelenting neighbors, on November 24, 2009, the City of Binghamton broke ground for the new $1.8 million Save-A-Lot grocery store.

This is the story of Gloria Marshall, a 33-year resident of Binghamton’s Northside neighborhood.¬†She really enjoys her neighbors and living in her community.

In the late 1980s, she started noticing an economic decline – stores were moving out of the neighborhood. In the mid-90s, two major grocers left, leaving no where for Mrs. Marshall and her neighbors to buy fresh, healthy food.

One January day several years ago, Mrs. Marshall was outside of her home and watched as a man and woman got on a bus in the snow to take a trip to the grocery store. She said to herself, “I can’t believe this, it’s horrible, it shouldn’t be happening this way.”
Folks on the Northside have to take a bus or a cab to get to a grocery store. The cab costs between $4.50 and $7.50 each way.
Then, Mrs. Marshall did something about it. She went to a meeting with Matt Ryan, the Mayor of Binghamton, about the economic situation facing the city. It wasn’t her intention to join any committees, but she felt like she had to represent her neighborhood and do what she could to get a grocery store back on the Northside because they had been without one for 15 years.
She worked with Citizen Action to run phone banks, calling on her neighbors and building support.
When Lea Webb, Citizen Action’s Southern Tier Organizer, was elected to the Binghamton City Council, doors started to open. Mrs. Marshall worked with Lea to contact leaders in Albany.
Two years later, on November 24th, 2009, the City of Binghamton held the ground-breaking ceremony for the brand new Save-A-Lot grocery store that will be built on the Northside.
Mrs. Marshall says that “the people who live where I live who don’t have cars can walk to the grocery store and get fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and produce. It’s a great convenience and a blessing. People will walk into the store, feel like they’re part of the community, and contributing to it.”

One January day several years ago, Mrs. Marshall was outside of her home and watched as a man and woman got on a bus in the snow to take a trip to the grocery store. She said to herself, “I can’t believe this, it’s horrible, it shouldn’t be happening this way.”

Folks on the Northside have to take a bus or a cab to get to a grocery store. The cab costs between $4.50 and $7.50 each way.

Then, Mrs. Marshall did something about it. She went to a meeting with Matt Ryan, the Mayor of Binghamton, about the economic situation facing the city. It wasn’t her intention to join any committees, but she felt like she had to represent her neighborhood and do what she could to get a grocery store back on the Northside because they had been without one for 15 years.

She worked with Citizen Action to run phone banks, calling on her neighbors and building support.

When Lea Webb, Citizen Action’s Southern Tier Organizer, was elected to the Binghamton City Council, doors started to open. Mrs. Marshall worked with Lea to contact leaders in Albany.

Two years later, on November 24th, 2009, the City of Binghamton held the ground-breaking ceremony for the brand new Save-A-Lot grocery store that will be built on the Northside.

Mrs. Marshall says that “the people who live where I live who don’t have cars can walk to the grocery store and get fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and produce. It’s a great convenience and a blessing. People will walk into the store, feel like they’re part of the community, and contributing to it.”

This story is exactly why we do the work we do. From national health care reform, to bringing a grocery store to a community that desperately needs one, Citizen Action is about achieving change that matters to ordinary people.

While we’re all feeling the economic problems facing our state and country right now, it’s more important than ever that we come together and keep winning victories like this one. Click here to contribute now.

Here’s a slideshow of the ground-breaking ceremony:

Here’s some of the press coverage:

Click here for Fox 40 WICZ coverage.

Click here for Press & Sun Bulletin coverage.

Click here for Action News 12 WBNG coverage.