The first lady will visit a Springfield Walmart on Thursday
Administration officials aren’t going to say in advance of first lady Michelle Obama’s visit which Walmart she’s stopping in at on Thursday.
Previously, the White House announced Obama will visit a Walmart in Springfield as part of a national tour to celebrate her Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity.
According to a White House official: “The Walmart store Mrs. Obama will visit was built as part of the company’s commitment to Let’s Move! to open or expand up to 300 stores in communities with limited access to healthy, affordable food.”
Walmart teamed up with Obama in 2011 and made a five-pronged commitment to make food healthier and healthier food more affordable. Walmart officials will announce their progress in the past two years.
Some were surprised that Obama chose to highlight Walmart.
“We understand the mission to help bring more access to fresh and nutritional foods to everyone, however it’s important to include our thriving local businesses that are doing the same and keeping our dollars local within our community,” said Lane McConnell, Farmers Market of the Ozarks Market Manager. “Local food is readily available at six farmers markets, local food grocery stores and restaurants throughout the Springfield region and we support initiatives that provide healthy food for all and keep our dollars local.”
Cindy Fluekiger, clinical nutrition manager with Cox Health, was excited that Obama was coming to Springfield and highlighting the importance of good nutrition.
The Let’s Move! campaign has “the potential to make a significant difference. The hill is pretty high and it’s pretty steep but we are taking steps in the right direction,” Fluekiger said.
Part of Walmart’s commitment was to address “food deserts” by building stores in underserved communities.
“A food desert is an area of the town, a geographic area, that lacks access to healthy, affordable food,” said Fluekiger. “There is really a need for affordable food in this area. Even though Springfield is the third largest city, there are still food deserts. When you go past Kearney, I don’t know what’s out there.”