It’s Official

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The Healthy Corner Store Initiative has been officially implemented!!  Tobacco King and Friendly News & Food officially kicked off the initiative yesterday.  The schools (Carteret & Fairview) were provided with signage & flyers too in time for Back to School Night.  This way parents and students alike were made aware of the initiative’s pic9 store pic7

As the healthier products were placed into the stores, there was enthusiasm from customers that were present.  One customer was truly pleased about the availability of fresh fruits at Tobacco King.  She exclaimed to the owner upon the foods being placed onto the counter, “Mahesh, I’m so happy you have bananas!  I would definitely want a banana some mornings.  Oh, and you have apples too!”  The owners seemed to have a sense of pride about their participation too, indicated by the huge smiles on their faces.  The challenges occurred mostly with store financial limitations, which limited some stores to a single vendor, which in turn limited the availability of healthier food items.  In spite of this, the following items were introduced into the stores:

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  • Tobacco King introduced whole fruits, such as the aforementioned bananas and apples.  Sixty four percent of fifth grade Carteret students surveyed wanted fruits in the store.  Sliced fruits were most preferred, so individual snack packs of sliced apples were introduced too.  Dried fruit was introduced also by the addition of raisins.  (Unsalted nuts & seeds, which a large percentage of Carteret students surveyed wanted, were unavailable by this store’s vendor).
  • Friendly News & Food introduced single-serving cartons of skim milk, individual snack packs of sliced apples (fifty-one percent of students surveyed at Fairview wanted sliced fruit) and individual snack packs of baby carrots.  We also highlighted healthier foods already available at the store.

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Although there is still a long road ahead with this initiative (sustaining it & increasing the # of stores participating in it), everyone’s cooperative effort in getting it to this point has been invaluable!!!


Achievement Unlocked: Expansion of the Healthy Corner Store Network and Healthy U in Atlantic City

Atlantic City is turning over a new leaf! The community has voiced its opinion and the verdict is in—healthy eating and active living are of utmost importance. Six corners stores have signed up to participate in the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative! A&B Food Market, Boom Supermarkets, Cedar Basic Foods  (1700 Baltic Ave.), Cedar Dollar Plus, Cedar Food Market VIII , K&K Gift and Grocery, and La Abundancia have all taken the first step to provide healthier food and beverage options. Staff at the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA will be providing free training to corner store owners on how to properly purchase and display fresh fruits and vegetables, market healthier foods, and conduct product placement seminars.

The Atlantic City School District was not to be outdone by local corner stores. New York Avenue School has signed up to participate in the YMCA’s Healthy U Program. Healthy U is a program aimed at preventing childhood obesity through improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and parental involvement. Results show improvement in key health measurements including increased physical activity and healthier eating.

Moving forward, the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA hopes to partner with Atlantic City’s Family Success Centers to expand the effort through community ambassadors. As where work is moving forward, weaving the project throughout the fabric of the community will be key to achieve sustainability.



Residents of Elizabeth enjoyed our second play street July 20th in Midtown Elizabeth.

The pictures and videos tell the story:

Stan Neuron, City of Elizabeth along with Council Members William Gallman, Jr 5th Ward and Carlos Torres, 1st Ward and Donald Johnson welcome everyone to Shaping Elizabeth Play Street.

Stan Neuron, City of Elizabeth along with Council Members William Gallman, Jr 5th Ward and Carlos Torres, 1st Ward and Donald Johnson welcome everyone to Shaping Elizabeth Play Street.

Safety first.  Over 50 kids received helmets from

Safety first. Over 50 kids received helmets from “Safe Kids Program” Children’s Specialized Hospital.IMG_1342

YMCA Staff Leo and Rafael help the kids

YMCA Staff Leo and Rafael help the kids “Get Physical”.

You Go Girl!

Lets Get Loose!

The Day Begins!

Congratulations to Emily’s Supermarket in Elizabeth 


Our First Healthy Corner Store Enrollment!

Our First Healthy Corner Store Enrollment!

Emilys Corner Store

A team from Shaping Elizabeth including: Priscilla Machado, Bayway Family Success Center, Jonathan Phillips and Rocio Morales, Groundwork Elizabeth, Karen Ensle, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Alane McCahey, The Gateway Family YMCA accompanied by Anna Ramos, NJ Corner Store Initiative set out into Elizabeth to visit 3 stores.

Anna was a great teacher and helped us get started.  Priscilla had scouted a couple of stores in Bayway. Emily’s Supermarket in the Bayway area next to Mrvalag Housing and School #5 was excited to sign up.  Storeowner Daniel Bernal has been involved with healthy corner stores in Newark and was ready to sign on immediately.  With intake form complete Priscilla and Alane will be visiting the store in 2 weeks to supply healthy signage and learn what 4 healthy changes the store has made.  We are hoping they may choose a healthy snack option and maybe some whole wheat bread.

Oh, We’re (more than) Halfway There!

(Written by Allison Smith, RD, ShopRite of Lincoln Park) We’re actually way more than halfway to completing our grant project.  The two main projects were completing food environment audits for each food establishment in Lincoln Park and building a 1/2 mile walking path at Lynn Park.  So far, with the help of our intern, Wincy, we have completed 14 out of the 16 food environment audits.

Food Environment Audits

Food Environment Audits

Of those completed, one was a supermarket, one was a small grocery store, three were delis or small specialty stores, and nine were food service establishments/restaurants.  What’s really exciting is that as a result of the audits, the owner of Wolfson’s Market, a small grocery store, has agreed to work with us to promote new healthy options to encourage healthy eating to customers.

Wolfson's Market, Lincoln Park

Wolfson’s Market, Lincoln Park

This is really a win-win situation for the town and for the business owner because it will support public health efforts and improve sales.

The walking path in Lynn Park is well on its way to completion with the help of Lincoln Park’s public works department, and once it is finished there will be a celebration!  It feels like we are really on our way to completing the projects we set our goals on last winter!

Lynn Park, Lincoln Park

Lynn Park, Lincoln Park

Lynn Park, Lincoln Park

Lynn Park, Lincoln Park

In other news, this past Sunday marked the first farmers’ market hosted by Lincoln Park in collaboration with Montville Township.  Although not part of the ShapingNJ grant, it’s very exciting to have our first local farmers’ market for the two communities.

Farmers' Market

Farmers’ Market

The market is held at the Towaco train station on Sundays from 9am-2pm.  Last weekend ten vendors participated and hundreds of people attended.  It was a great turn out and really exciting for the community!

Assistance Builds Momentum

To ensure the success of work being conducted in Atlantic City to expand the YMCA’s Healthy U Program and the Healthy Corner Store Program, relationships have been cultivated within the community. As an expansion of work that was conducted last year, the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA has been able to leverage existing relationships to build new ones. Last year, the Healthy U Program was administered in both Texas Avenue and Richmond Avenue schools. PE Teacher Julie Land has championed the expansion of the program to another school.

Due to the statewide success of the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative, recruiting new stores in Atlantic City to participate in the Healthy Corner Store Program has been made easier. Once again, leveraging past success and prior relationships is key. Once the summer hits, the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA will be sending out more representatives to the area to expand its work.