The co-owner of a well-established corner store in Syracuse’s Hawley Green Neighborhood says she realized the need to provide better nutritional options for customers, especially impressionable young kids.
"I could see the kids when they were young and they have grown up and I'm like, look at all these kids getting bigger and bigger every day and it brings tears to my eyes. I said, these are beautiful children, they just need someone to guide them to eat healthy."
That’s Hawley Market’s Rita Algattas. The store is offering healthy food choices front and center for customers after it received a mini-grant in a partnership between the Onondaga County Health Department and Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative. The goal is to help reduce barriers for healthy living in neighborhoods and nearby schools. Algattas says 50% of its floor space transitioned into healthy options in the past year.
"Every day I make sure my fruit basket is all full with fresh fruit. We used to advertise half a sub with chips and soda, we switched it to half a sub with fruit and water, instead of the soda, so that's a change."
She finds the store’s new lay-out with healthier food options is that much more effective thanks to some help from the teachers at Dr. Weeks Elementary School. The school is just a few doors down from the market. Algattas says that teachers are cracking down on students bringing in sugary drinks and snacks to
"Like when the teachers say 'you can't bring candy to school,' then they're gonna have no other choice than getting something healthy like those healthy bars or a piece of fruit."
She adds the teachers’ efforts makes the healthy options at the store that much more enticing. Hawley Market is one of three corner stores involved in the program.