Grantee Blog

“Shaping Long Branch – How To Be Beautiful and Healthy Inside and Out”

EZ Ride partnered with the Ultimate Impressions Beauty Salon, Broadway Market, and Monmouth Medical Center to hold a Healthy Eating Event with Holiday Foods on Saturday, November 3rd from 12 to 2 pm at 295 Broadway in Long Branch, NJ. The salon owner, Ms. Alicia Baker, is working on embracing a healthier lifestyle and was excited about hosting an event to encourage her clients to do preventive screening and try healthier options for the holidays. In a trusted community environment such as a beauty salon,customers often talk to their hair stylist about issues they are facing in life. When we met, we had a discussion about our health and the opportunity she has to encourage customers to eat well and get important screening, such as colonoscopies and mammograms, which can help to prevent cancer and chronic disease. We decided to title our event  “Live The Ultimate Life! Be Beautiful and Healthy Inside and Out at Ultimate Impressions Beauty Salon”. We are grateful to David Perez, of the Long Branch Public Library, who connected us to Alicia as a community partner – she also has a bookshelf from the library in her salon to promote literacy.

On November 3rd, about 25 people of all ages came to our event to get screened and try the delicious healthy foods for the Fall season that we, Victoria and Lisa, prepared. We made an Oven Omelet with fresh mushrooms, spinach, tomato, basil, onions, low fat cheddar cheese and turkey bacon. We also featured a variety of side dishes for Holiday meals including Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts with Craisins and Coconut, Healthy Greek Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese, and a Fresh Fruit Salad with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries and strawberries.  Since November is National Diabetes Month, we made Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Tarts with Stevia, a plant-based sweetener that is a great alternative for those with diabetes. We provided bottled water and made an Iced Hibiscus Berry Tea with very little sugar. It’s a delicious herbal tea that can help people lower their blood pressure and it tastes great even without sugar. Recipes for all items were provided and we have developed a great selection of health and nutrition info from the American Heart Association and My Plate for parents/kids. We have also made our own materials for our communities including Tips to Make Healthier Fast Food Choices, Tips to Eat Healthy and Be Active, and Why You Need to Get Screened to Prevent Colon Cancer.

We also had a free raffle to win a healthy eating and lifestyle basket. 14 people chose to  participate and Mr. Eric Williams won a basket filled with Quaker Oats, fresh produce, a jump rope, recipes and health information/tips. Broadway Market, one of our partnering corner stores and part of the Shaping Long Branch/Healthy Community Network, was the source for our basket items and bottled water.  A total of 13 free blood pressure screenings were done by Mariella Carabello from Monmouth Medical Center for the adults – children cannot be screened. Mariella did a great job inviting passersby in Spanish to come in and get screened and to taste the foods. In addition, clients and passersby who came into the salon were each given a Healthy Heart Coupon to redeem for $8 worth of fresh produce from Broadway Market.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we’d like to say thank you to all our wonderful partners in Long Branch: The City of Long Branch and all their employees in the Office of Community & Economic Development, Program/Special Events, Police Department, Library, Health Department, Senior Center, Monmouth Medical Center’s Community engagement team, the Public School District, Habitat for Humanity, Coastal Communities Family Success Center, our partner corner stores and beach huts, our barbershop and salon partners, and of course our funder, the NJ Department of Health.

I would like to thank EZ Ride, Monmouth Medical Center, Broadway Market, and everyone who participated in the healthy eating event at Ultimate Impressions Beauty Salon on November 3, 2018.  Each dish was prepared with excellence, flavor, and love. My customers and the public loved how they were able to receive a free blood pressure screening and taste healthy holiday foods. The low sugar hibiscus tea, coupons to get  $8 worth of free fresh produce, the health information, and the raffle to win a basket full of fresh produce and healthy foods were great! Providing this event to my customers, friends and the public helped educate people about the importance of maintaining a healthy body inside and out. Thank you so much for providing all the healthy recipes. I know my clients are going to love them! I’m really excited to be able to introduce new and healthy food to my clients, and I’m sure they’re going to enjoy these healthy recipes as much as I did.  ”    ~Alicia Baker

For more info about the Shaping Long Branch initiative, please contact Lisa Lee at 201-939-4242 or



About the Grantee

EZ Ride

EZ Ride is a non-profit, public-private partnership with a mission to implement transportation programs & services that enhance quality of life, regional mobility & economic opportunity while reducing traffic congestion & air pollution.The Bike&Ped team offers many services including Safe Routes to School & StreetSmart to encourage walking, biking, safety,& healthy living for school & communities.