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Partnership, market team up

Demonstrations, health screenings Saturday at Lucky 7

WARREN — Four more stores in Warren are selling fresh produce thanks to a pairing with the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, including Lucky 7 Food Market, which will host a healthy eating event Saturday.

TNP and the convenience store, 1265 E. Market St., will host cooking demonstrations, health screenings, children’s activities and free, cooked food giveaways from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Of the 44 stores that sell food in Warren, 14 already sold fresh produce — such as Giant Eagle, Save-A-Lot and Aldi — but TNP worked to add four more to that list with efforts to bring more healthy options to Warren’s food deserts, said Matt Martin, executive director of TNP.

The work is in conjunction with TNP’s 2017 Warren Community Food Security Strategic Plan, to lift public awareness about disparities in food access and recommend ways to mitigate the impact of food deserts.

“This is a part of our larger effort to create and sustain healthy communities and especially to reduce the harm from food deserts. We have almost 50 stores in Warren that sell food, and it’s so wonderful to see family owned businesses like Lucky 7 pursue a model that improves the quality of life of their customers by making sure that food is healthy,” Martin said.

At the event, organizers hope to engage neighbors and the public and highlight Lucky 7 Food Mart’s fresh produce offerings and its EBT service. EBT, which stands for electronic benefits transfer, is Ohio’s way of distributing food assistance benefits. Other partners include the Mercy Health Foundation and Warren Health District.

Duroub Yacoub, Lucky 7 owner, said customers come in for more than candy.

“They can expect to see fruits as well,” he said. “We are providing for healthier items to give our customers. As family owners, we try to sell produce and other products around 30 percent lower than other retail stores.”

“To help alleviate food deserts in our area,” said Christian Bennett, TNP Trumbull County food access coordinator, “we must invest in the independent and locally owned small businesses that already exist.”

TNP works with store owners to track and implement fresh produce on their racks, by building relationships and offering relationships.

“It is so important for the public to see this because it changes the negative stereotype of what corner stores have to offer in our neighborhoods,” Bennett said.

TNP assists more than 12 gardens through the GROW program and sponsor the farmers markets in Courthouse Square and Quinby Park to help more healthy food reach Warren residents, Martin said.