On June 14, 2017 the Shaping Long Branch – Healthy Community Network team worked with owner, Jose Tavares and his staff at the Broadway Market to provide a free healthy eating and screening event for the community after school. The market has a great location on the main street across from the local community college satellite office, near the local community health center, and two large elementary schools.
The team planned the event to coincide with the last half- day of school and held the event from 1:00 – 2:30 pm when we knew students would be walking by the store on their way home from school. A press release was sent out in both English and Spanish, the City promoted the event on their email blast, and notices, 30 coupons for free healthy items were dropped off at the two nearest elementary schools and the Middle School, and 30 more coupons were distributed at the local McDonalds, the community college office and on the street. The store owner put up notices up in his store the week ahead and purchased extra amounts of yogurt drinks and bananas which we planned to sample for passersby.
The Rutgers SNAP-ED team setup a table and sampled a delicious low sugar hibiscus cranberry iced tea. They also played a game with locals to guess how much sugar is in their favorite drinks. Monmouth Medical Center sent nurse Linda to do free blood pressure screening and counseling and the EZ Ride team passed out samples of cut bananas in mango flavored yogurt and coupons in the neighborhood to get 3 free bananas, an orange, a pears or a bottle of drinkable yogurt. The Long Branch Health Officer and Lina came to provide Spanish or Portuguese translation and to talk with residents.
The event was very successful as we served 100 samples of bananas and yogurt, 94 cups of iced tea and 15 people received blood pressure screenings. The recipe and free cranberry hibiscus tea bags were also given out to those who tasted the drink. Sixteen coupons were redeemed that day for 4 yogurts, 1 pear, 4 oranges, and 21 bananas, and all the folks who stopped by were educated about the health benefits of yogurt, bananas and low sugar beverages. Best of all, the owner was very happy to see so many children enjoying the yogurt and fruit instead of soda and candy.
We are looking forward to going back to do another event in the Fall after school starts!