wendell pierce*Wendell Pierce has begun to live his dream. Now he’s returning home to give back to his community, in an economical way.

The veteran actor, who’s from New Orleans, has decided to help rebuild the city by starting a chain of grocery stores that will be convenient and accessible to the city’s residents who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

Sterling Express is a full-service grocery store, dedicated to food education and providing the fresh food.

According to NBC News, New Orleans could use a boost like this because so many residents are severely disenfranchised because of the lack of access to fresh food and reasonable grocery stores.

At last count, in the fall of 2012, there were 26 supermarkets in the city — nearly as many as the 30 that existed prior to Hurricane Katrina. But “it’s not about overall count,” says Tulane professor Diego Rose, “it’s about distribution.” In New Orleans, disparities in neighborhood access to grocery stores worsened after Hurricane Katrina.

Aware of the lack of access, Pierce is adamant about rebuilding and providing for his community.

“That’s what I hope Sterling Farms is — that neighborhood grocery store where you see your neighbors, where you build that economic engine within your own community and exercise your right of self-determination,” Pierce told NBC.

“We have a right to be here. We have a right to live well and come together as a community.”