City’s corner stores getting healthier

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Pictured at the ceremony marking the addition of the George Street Deli to the New Haven Healthy Corner Store Initiative are (from left) Eli Jaser, the store’s owner; Harry Barbosa and Jackie Failla, students from Common Ground High School; and Stacy Spell, a West River community activist. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

An initiative that aims to turn the city’s small neighborhood stores into places where children and families can find fresh produce and healthy snacks took another step forward with the addition of the George Street Deli on Nov. 14.

Called the New Haven Healthy Corner Store Initiative, the effort is sponsored by Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at Yale and the New Haven Health Department.

CARE recently mapped the food stores in six New Haven neighborhoods, and discovered 104 — over two-thirds of which were corner stores. In many areas, corner stores outnumber traditional groceries, and they often sell junk food and other unhealthy items.

Through the initiative, CARE and the city’s Health Department are working with neighborhood corner stores to increase their selection and marketing of healthy foods. The focus has been on stores that are in close proximity to schools in order to help students develop healthy eating habits at an early age.

Participating stores receive incentives such as display stands, free marketing and advertising, and give-away items for customers. The corner stores place the Healthy Corner Store logo near healthier choices to help customers make more informed decisions.

The New Haven Healthy Corner Store Initiative was launched in May at Adam’s Deli & Food in the Dwight neighborhood and the Clinton Food Center in the Fair Haven neighborhood. A third store, Congress Market, joined the project in July.

The program’s newest addition, the George Street Deli, is located at 802 George St., in the business district of the West River neighborhood, two blocks from Barnard Environmental Magnet School.

Students from Common Ground High School helped develop creative strategies to get the word out about the new store. They have written, and will be presenting skits and health information to Barnard students, teachers, and parents; they will also be canvassing with CARE staff in the neighborhood.

CARE is a research group within the Yale School of Public Health and is committed to improving the health of city residents by fostering rigorous community-based research and by translating scientific breakthroughs into practical benefits.

For more information contact, Alycia Santilli, assistant director of CARE at 203-785-7651 or alycia.santilli@yale.edu.

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