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TNP grant to help Lucky 7 store offer more fresh produce

WARREN — Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership is continuing its efforts to combat the city’s food desert designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture by awarding a grant to Lucky 7 Community Store on East Market Street so it can upgrade its refrigeration unit.

The upgrade has allowed the store to offer more fresh produce, according to a news release from TNP. The refrigeration unit was made possible through the organization’s Healthy Community Store Initiative program with funding by the Ohio Finance Fund through the Healthy Food for Ohio program, a public-private partnership that provides loans and grants for food retailers developing new, or renovating existing, fresh food retail options in lower-income, underserved communities throughout Ohio.

Lucky 7, along with other community stores that are a part of the Healthy Community Store Initiative in Warren, are working with TNP to upgrade their equipment in order to increase their ability to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Since COVID-19, local convenience stores and the residents who rely on them for food shopping have faced many obstacles in healthy food accessibility and affordability.

The Healthy Community Store Initiative develops incentives for vendors and consumers in neighborhoods faced with food insecurity to address these barriers. TNP will continue to spread awareness about food insecurity per the organization’s 2017 Community Food Security Access Plan, which noted that 50 percent of Warren is designated a “food desert” by the USDA, and the entire southern portion of the city is lacking any full-service grocery.

TNP’s food access coordinator Christian Mosely notes, “This funding represents a great stepping stone to bolstering infrastructure at community stores, providing the necessary resources to help sustain their fresh produce offerings. Through our partnerships and community organizing, we continue to open doors for residents of Warren to educate and challenge the mindsets on how important it is to have accessible healthy foods within our communities.”

TNP approaches this work in partnership with the Mahoning County healthy food access coordinator, seeking efficiencies through a collaborative regional approach. Both positions are supported by the Healthy Community Partnership.

news@tribtoday.com

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