'Don't Stress, Eat Fresh' campaign aims to bring healthy foods to bodegas

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When thinking of Bronx bodega staples, fresh produce probably doesn't make the list.

However, some in the borough are trying to change that perception. 

The Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup has launched a campaign at corner stores across the Bronx to encourage customers to eat healthy.

These foods are not exactly what many customers have in mind when they stop by their local corner stores, which is what those with the "Don't Stress, Eat Fresh" campaign are trying to achieve. 

"The whole idea is to take the stress off, come into your bodegas, in addition to the usual things, you will find you also have healthy food here, so you don't have to go too far to get healthy food," says Charmaine Ruddock, of the Bronx Health Reach Coalition.

The organization behind the campaign the Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup is comprised of a local hospital, health care centers, non-profits, and community associations.

Together, they worked with more than 50 corner stores across the borough between last October and this January to offer healthier options like produce.

They then promoted the places selling the fresher foods throughout the community.  

"We partner with bodega owners, and increase the signage, and then increase the stock of healthy food. And then work with community groups like schools and churches to provide education about nutrition," says Liz Spurrell-Huss, of Montefiore Medical Center. "If we can promote the healthy food that they're serving, a community that is, has one of the highest rates of obesity and overweight can find access to healthier food in their corner store their usual bodega."

The Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup is currently working with city council members to secure $250,000 in funding so the campaign can continue and expand into other stores in the borough.

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