The organization is one of six nonprofits nationwide that received funding from the Foundation, established by the late actor Paul Newman.
The Food Trust will also join the Foundation’s “nutrition cohort,” inclusive of all six grantees and the Friedman School of Nutrition and Science at Tufts University.
Acting as a think tank for food access, the cohort will convene members and help them coordinate their efforts. The Food Trust is the only Pennsylvania-based group that will participate.
“The great news is that this [award] will support all of our work, but with a special emphasis on bringing healthy foods to corner stores,” said Yael Lehmann, the executive director of The Food Trust.
The organization currently works with more than 650 corner stores and bodegas in the Philadelphia region.
Because they are ubiquitous and embedded in many neighborhoods where grocery stores are scarce, “residents and a lot of kids are shopping at these stores two to three times a day,” Lehmann said. “They are getting a huge amount of calories there on a daily basis.”
While participation varies, The Food Trust is helping corner stores introduce an average of 46 healthy products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy and brown rice.
“We try to start with baby steps to show them that these items can also be profitable to their bottom line,” Lehmann added.
In addition to corner stores, the grant will support The Food Trust’s management of local farmers’ markets and education efforts, including the HYPE campaign, a program to guide students toward healthier choices at school and in their communities.
In partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the Department of Public Health and the Campbell Soup Company, HYPE is active in approximately 100 middle and high schools in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J.
Founded in 1992, The Food Trust operates in 30 states, but much of its on-the-ground work is concentrated in Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Lehmann.
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Along with the grant award, the organization raised more than $23,000 in a Giving Tuesday challenge offered by the Newman’s Own Foundation.
Photo by Albert Yee
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