Thursday, March 12, 2020

Fresh Food, Fresh Attitude! Increasing Access to Healthy Grab-and-Go Items at Bronx Bodegas

William is the owner of Makey Deli, located at 2704 Third Avenue in the Bronx.

This post was written by Kelly Moltzen, Program Manager for Bronx Health REACH’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities.

On average, Americans eat more than 3,400 mg. of sodium daily – more than double the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit of 1,500 mg. 77% of the sodium that Americans consume comes from processed foods and food served in restaurants.

In the Bronx, items that people often buy at bodegas are processed foods high in sodium, including chips, deli meats, and cheese. Bronx Health REACH, Montfiore Medical Center and City Harvest are part of the Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup, offering healthy food retail initiatives to encourage stores to stock healthier items, such as low-sodium deli meats and healthy snack alternatives. The Workgroup launched the Don’t Stress, Eat Fresh healthy bodega marketing campaign to increase awareness of these healthier options throughout the Bronx community.

Bronx Health REACH, with support from the American Heart Association’s NYC Community Impact Grant, is collaborating with the Bronx healthy food advocate, Shen’naque Sean Butler and his “FRESCH” campaign to expand the number of bodegas selling healthy grab-and-go items. To date, Sean has organized taste tests at bodegas, schools, and in the community, offering hummus, three-bean salad, a vegan salad, and pico de gallo. Future taste tests include cut vegetables with dip, fruit cups, and overnight oats. We hope the combination of taste tests and increased access to these healthy items for sale in the community, coupled with the Don’t Stress, Eat Fresh healthy bodega marketing campaign will offer Bronx residents new items they will get excited about and support their health!

Montefiore Medical Center is collaborating with the Jerome Gun Hill Business Improvement District (BID)  to support bodega owners selling healthy foods such as The Bronx Salad and other healthy grab-and-go items. By partnering with NYC Small Business Services, the Jerome Gun Hill BID offers bodegas compliance consultations, financial education, trainings, advertising and promotional support, and other business support resources.

City Harvest has established a relationship with Fairway to get healthy grab-and-go items sold in supermarkets and corner stores in the Bronx. After an initial pilot phase, the following seven Bronx stores are participating in the grab-and-go program:

1. Borinquen Supermarket, 436 Brook Avenue
2. Met Food Supermarket, 649 Jackson Avenue
3. Real Supermarket, 795 Prospect Avenue
4. Makey Deli, 2704 Third Avenue
5. D & D Deli, 100 West 168th Street
6. Moe’s Quick Deli, 469 Brook Avenue
7. Wanda’s Deli, 104 Elliot Place

Consuming less sodium and more fruits and vegetables – including the items promoted through the grab-and-go program – are part of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet plan, and is an important step in reducing the risk of diet-related diseases such as hypertension and stroke.

For more information, contact Kelly Moltzen via email or call (212) 633-0800 x 1328.

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