NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A fire in early September in Norfolk has turned an already struggling neighborhood for fresh food into more of a food desert.

The fire at the Family Dollar has left residents that live nearby searching for groceries. At the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, relieving that hardship of getting groceries is a top priority.

The neighborhoods surrounding the Family Dollar store are considered to be in a food desert.

“When you take away the one location where our neighbors have the opportunity to buy products and shelf-stable food, that does create significant hardship,” said Emma Inman with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

On Friday, Sept 16., the foodbank will be setting up an emergency mobile food pantry to hand out boxes of food to anywhere from 500 to 600 families. The boxes contain 35 pounds of food including cereal, beans, dry milk and peanut butter. It will also be supplemented with meat and produce.

“I used to go to the store, but now it had burned down,” said Rebecca, a resident who lives Calvert Square community and now has to shop elsewhere for her groceries. “It is a little bit inconvenient for me; I had to go all the way up to Wards Corner.”

Norfolk Fire and Rescue are still investigating the cause of the fire. The mobile food pantry will be in the parking lot of the former Family Dollar store this Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The shopping center is located on Church Street and E Brambleton Avenue.

Check for the latest updates.