Have you heard about Healthy Happens Here? If not, this program is geared to the small, convenience type stores that are located throughout Allen County. Some are apart of gas stations, some are drive-thru stores, some are part of national chains, while even more are owned by local residents living here in our community. The goal of the program is to assist interested store owners in selling fresh produce and healthy snack options as a part of their daily inventory. With the majority of convenience stores located within our food desert areas, Healthy Happens Here aims to remove the barrier of poor access to fresh produce for the residents who live around these stores.
When individuals and families reside in food deserts, their ability and access to obtain quality fresh produce is greatly reduced, leading to decreased consumption of nutritious foods and increased risk for numerous health concerns. Many of these small stores are used frequently by customers to pick up a small number of groceries, tobacco products and snacks and for many of these customers, these stores are part of their daily routine. To be involved in Healthy Happens Here, store owners agree to begin to sell fresh produce in their store and they also agree to increase their supply of healthy snacks. Along with this, our team works with the owner to create visible and attractive displays, get signage and labels set up throughout the store to guide customers to healthy options and finally engage the customer base with a community event held at the store. In addition, we work with and train owners on how to sell, display, stock, rotate and maintain the produce to reduce waste and increase the appeal of the fresh produce to customers coming in the store.
We are so pleased to be able to say that thus far, Healthy Happens Here has seen many successes and is creating more access to fresh produce to many members of our community. If you have not been to a store that is involved in our program, we hope that you take the time to stop in soon and see the program first hand. Currently, we have 7 stores that are working with us to provide fresh produce and healthy snack options to the community. This list includes: Meat City (Kibby St.), Corner Grocery (N. Elizabeth St.), Wally’s Fillin’ Station (Cole St.), Riverview (S. Pine St.), Daryl and Daryl’s (Robb Ave.), Canal Healthmart Pharmacy (Spencerville), and Elida Depot (Elida Rd.). We greatly appreciate the support and dedication of the owners and employees at these locations and their desire to see positive changes throughout the community. Much of the success we have seen in this program would not have been possible without the partnerships that have developed from this program. By working with St. Rita’s Health Partners and Coca-Cola, we have been able to offer the stores increased supplies, such as refrigeration and provide coupons to customers who take part in community engagement days.
Moving forward, we are continuing to engage store owners and recruit new stores to join this program. If you know of a store that would like to join or if you would like more information about the Healthy Happens Here program, please contact our office at 419-221-5035.