Jersey City Healthy Corner Store Initiative Brings Fresh Food into the Community
When you walk through Denisse Supermarket door one of the first items you see is a display of bananas, plantains, potatoes, mangoes and other seasonal produce. Located in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City, many of Denisse Supermarket customers struggle with diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other diet-related illnesses. To improve the health outcomes of the Bergen-Lafayette community, Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services (JCHHS) approached Denny Diaz, Denisse Supermarket storeowner, to join their Healthy Corner Store Initiative.
The Healthy Corner Store Initiative seeks to increase access to healthier food options within Jersey City’s underserved neighborhoods. The initiative provides corner storeowners with training assistance, marketing materials, and equipment to display healthy products. As a SNAP-certified corner store, Diaz was already taking steps toward serving his community, but by joining the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, he took a leap toward fighting the barriers limiting access to healthy food.
“Since becoming a Healthy Corner Store and offering a healthier variety of fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, grapes, and oranges, they have been selling off the shelves,” said Diaz. Even small changes such as organizing the produce into baskets and making sure the prices are visible helps with access to healthy food. During the summer, Denisse Supermarket will be working with JCHHS to host a series of monthly health and wellness events. Participants will engage in cooking demos, health screenings, and wellness education.
In 2018, JCHHS received a $10,000 grant from the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network to implement the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. Thanks to this funding, JCHHS will be recruiting four additional stores to its Healthy Corner Store network.
About the Grantee
The Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services is a public agency that strives to build a culture of health. Through the department’s divisions, this multi-purpose public health agency provides services needed to promote overall health in the community. The Division of Food & Nutrition seeks to reduce hunger and food insecurity and increase the consumption of healthier foods.