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 implementation.
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:
- 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.
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!!!