January 4, 2019
Jump IN’s work on food access has come a long way. In December 2017, Jump IN received a $50,000 grant from the Glick Fund to pilot the Food Trust’s approach to healthy corner stores, training community partners (Marion Co. Health staff, Purdue Extension wellness staff, and Community Ambassadors – neighborhood residents who know the community well) to identify corner stores in Greater Lawrence and the Far Eastside to increase offering healthy options at affordable pricing. The Food Trust is a national organization based in Philadelphia that has established many different solutions to healthy food access challenges, including a proven system of improving the quality of food offered in convenience stores, gas stations, dollar stores and other corner stores – at affordable prices. Greater Lawrence and the Far Eastside are rated as a severe food desert; this project offers a solution relatively quickly. Rather than waiting years hoping for a full-service grocery to arrive, this initiative creates access to healthier food within a matter of months.
The big news: our first two corner stores, a Marathon gas station at 9950 E. 38th Street, and a Tienda Morelos superette at 8989 Pendleton Pike, have just completed their “healthy food re-sets.” This first store has gotten a healthy checkout, healthy snack rack, hand fruit display, and a new cooler at the entrance for healthy beverages and fresh “grab and go” snacks. The team also removed tobacco signage from the store’s exterior windows and are replacing it with half-height window wraps — once the temperature goes above freezing that is.
This store is a gas station convenience store, so the group worked with the store owner, Ali (in the middle of the photo, above) to find healthy foods and beverages that fit his business model. Bonus: the fresh produce is sourced from Tiendo Morelas, second participating store. Tienda Morelos has gotten a healthy checkout, healthy snack rack, fresh produce, and signage directing customers to the healthy option areas. They also now sell bottles of water for the first time. Manager Lady Medoza reports, “We never thought about selling individual bottles of water before but customers are already buying a lot of them!” And we have more great news to report: the Food Trust just learned that they’ll be receiving a significant grant from the Anthem Foundation to convert more corner stores, so our Healthy Food Retail Initiative (HFRI) will continue to grow. Our plan is to add three more corner stores to the mix, for a total of five healthy corner stores in that area by the end of 2019. Our HFRI is a terrific step in bringing healthier food options to neighborhoods that need them, and we are delighted that this program is already making a difference for our neighbors on the Far Eastside.
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