Red Bank

PROGRAM NAME

Shaping Red Bank


Location:
 Red Bank

Objective:
To reduce and/or prevent childhood obesity by increasing access to high-quality affordable foods through improved and healthier corner stores.

Budget/Grant:
$7,500 initial grant; $7,500 for second year.

Time Frame:
January 1, 2011-March 31, 2012; Phase Two August 1, 2012  – July 31, 2013

Partners:
Funding Partner:  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Community Partners:  Community YMCA, Parker Family Health Center, Meridian Health, Red Bank Parks and Recreation, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Juanito’s  Bodega, Supersavers, Rincon Latina, El Guero.

Accomplishments:    

  • To encourage people to get out and move their bodies, the project created a Shaping Red Bank route for walking and running between two riverfront parks. A permanent sign, erected along the river, marks the one-mile loop.
  • Four bodegas currently participate in the Shaping Red Bank Healthy Pick program, in which they label foods that are a healthier choice (e.g., plain canned beans vs. canned refried beans), with shelf labels in Spanish and English. Some of the bodegas also offer healthy impulse items (e.g., sliced fruit) at their registers, in addition to the usual candy.  To foster nutritional education, the project also supplies the bodegas with bilingual nutrition tips to be used as bag-stuffers.
  • As a result of the Shaping Red Bank project, a strong coalition developed that served as the nucleus for the newer Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, which started in the summer of 2012. Shaping Red Bank is now working with the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign on other endeavors.

Lessons Learned:
Project leaders quickly learned that a bilingual staff person (preferably Latino/Latina) was needed to work with the bodegas to establish and maintain an ongoing relationship.  It was important to check back routinely with the bodegas to ensure compliance with the program. Six months into the program, Shaping Red Bank enlisted the services of a Master of Public Health student from Puerto Rico as a part-time outreach worker;  she was paid through an internship offered by her UMDNJ graduate school program.

We also learned that working with a town to enact systemic change is a long process, but doable.


Phase Two:
August 1, 2012 – July 31, 2013.

In this second phase, Shaping Red Bank hired a part-time outreach worker as the intern’s time with us had ended. She works well with the stores, as well as with other community partners, including WIC, the Lunch Break food program, churches, and others.

For more information, contact Sandra Van Sant, Red Bank Health Officer, svansant@mcrhc.org or 732-493-9520.