20 Bronx Bodegas to Participate in The Healthy Bodega Initiative: Small Business Training to Promote Healthier Food and Beverages
New York, NY (August 3, 2015) — Bronx Health REACH, a project of the Institute for Family Health, is launching a new partnership with the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN) and The Bodega Association of the United States (ASOBEU), as part of its longstanding Healthy Bodega Initiative to combat the obesity epidemic plaguing New York City’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. While the obesity epidemic threatens the health and well being of all New Yorkers, nowhere is this crisis more severe than in the Bronx, a county that ranks 62 out of 62 in all of New York State when it comes to health outcomes, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Ranking Report.
In response to this crisis, 20 Bronx bodegas will participate in a two-day, in-depth Healthy Bodega training program focusing on business strategies, food handling and marketing/promotion practices to increase supply and demand for healthier food and beverages for customers. The challenge is to make offering healthy food and drink options a successful business in high need, low income communities. While many bodega owners have been willing to participate in efforts to stock healthy food at the behest of healthy food advocates like Bronx Health REACH and others, many owners have not been able to succeed at selling healthy food because they lack the necessary information and tools to market and sell these healthy foods. With support from Bronx Health REACH, HITN and ASOBEU worked directly with bodega owners and a prominent local food retail trainer to design the live training to assist bodega owners on how to procure, sell, and promote healthier food and beverage options in their stores in a financially sustainable way.
The two-day training will be held on Tuesday, August 4th and Wednesday August 5th, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. From the live training, HITN will produce training videos and written materials which will be made available online to bodega owners. The training will be coupled with an extensive community outreach campaign providing consumer education and incentives to make healthy foods affordable and desirable.
Ramon Murphy, ASOBEU President pointed out, “We are extremely excited to be a part of the Healthy Bodega program. As president of the Bodega Association, I believe strongly that a partnership between our store owners and the community can help to make the Bronx healthier. When bodegas stock healthier products, and the community is educated and encouraged to buy these products, we will have a strong partnership that will go a long way towards elevating the Bronx so that it no longer is the least healthy county in all of New York State.”
Bronx Health REACH Director Charmaine Ruddock remarked, “It is very encouraging to have, for the first time, the Bodega Association (ASOBEU) become actively involved in efforts to have bodegas offer healthier food options in the Bronx. Through the partnership with HITN and ASOBEU the development of this training seminar will show bodega owners how a bodega offering healthier food options can be good business. We look forward to more bodegas joining our Towards a Healthier Bronx – Healthy Bodega Initiative and benefitting from this training.”
“Selling healthier foods in 20 bodegas is a great addition to the preventive health care that the Institute provides in its community health centers in the Bronx, and a great start to addressing the myriad environmental factors that affect health,” said Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health.
Mike Nieves, President and CEO, HITN stated, “As the public service broadcaster for U.S. Latinos, HITN is passionately committed to education – on television, online and on the ground in communities. Using our media capability to educate small business owners to sell and promote healthy food makes both the stores and the community stronger. When you have healthy communities plus healthy businesses, everyone wins.”
The work is funded by a three year REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support this mission. The Institute for Family Health/Bronx Health REACH is a founding member of ‘Not62 – The Campaign for a Healthy Bronx’, a new initiative, responding to the Bronx being ranked 62 out of the 62 counties in New York State by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Ranking Report since 2009.
Established in 1983, the Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network (HITN) is the first Latino non-commercial Spanish-language media company in the United States. HITN (www.hitn.org) currently reaches over 40 million households in the U. S, providing a wide range of quality programming – on TV, online, and in the community — to address its mission of advancing the educational, socioeconomic and cultural aspirations of Latinos. HITN can be viewed across the United States on DirectTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse TV, Verizon FiOS TV, and in designated markets on Time Warner Cable, Comcast Cable and Charter Communications. Additionally, HITN is the largest holder of Educational Broadband Spectrum in the United States enabling it to create new opportunities to deliver educational content and connect communities.
The Bodega Association of the United States (ASOBEU) is a local development corporation that seeks to link the interests of independent inner city entrepreneurs, government and the non-profit sector in a partnership to promote job creation and long-term, sustainable economic and capital growth in New York City. The organization currently represents the interests of thousands of grocery stores throughout New York State and ASOBEU focuses on the competitive advantages of doing business in the inner city and the unique strengths offered by independently owned businesses as a basis for local job creation and economic growth.
Bronx Health REACH (www.bronxhealthreach.org) is a project of The Institute for Family Health (www.institute.org). Founded in 1999, Bronx Health REACH is committed to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the Bronx, and promotes health equity by increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy food. The Institute for Family Health is a federally qualified health center network that operates 27 community health centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and the Mid Hudson Valley. Primary care, behavioral health care and dental services are available to people of all ages, regardless of ability to pay.