The American Heart Association (AHA) is working with partners in New Jersey to secure at least $1 million state dollars to support the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative. The campaign builds on years of work to make healthy and fresh foods more available in New Jersey, highlighted by the work of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH).
Several years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, which funds five communities throughout New Jersey to address childhood obesity, including working closely with corner store owners to increase access to healthy and fresh foods close to people’s homes.
In June of 2014, when WIC stores were required to offer fresh produce, the New Jersey DOH partnered with The Food Trust to train more than 900 WIC stores on how to stock, store, handle and sell fresh products. The Food Trust also convened a task force of interested parties to gather for information sharing, best practices and lessons learned. The taskforce’s report will be released in the fall and will help more New Jersey stores as well as other states follow their progress.
Last year to help grow knowledge and support for the healthy corner store movement, Voices for Healthy Kids awarded a grant to the AHA to support the work in the state. In addition, the AHA was also able to leverage internal funding to support a policy component to the work as well, and the push to secure at least $1 million in state funding for healthy corner stores took off.
For more information on the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative, click here, to view their 4-minute video on the subject that includes representatives from organizations that have been doing the work, store owners and most importantly, customers who frequent the stores. And check out our interview with campaign manager, PreventObesity.net Leader Corinne Orlando, in the Movers and Shakers section of the Inside Track.