Nourishing the Atlantic City Community

NJHI 2015: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action Care AC

In January, Care AC continued its efforts to connect community partners and work in collaboration to make a healthier Atlantic City.

Choosing Healthy at the Corner Store

Care AC, along with partners the AtlantiCare Foundation, Rutgers SNAP-Ed, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, and Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties, held Atlantic City’s first “Choosing Healthy at the Corner Store (CHACS)” wellness event at two local markets.

Educators conducted 35 body mass index (BMI) assessments and shared health information. Shoppers who completed a BMI assessment received a $5 healthy food voucher. The educators also offered tips for selecting healthy foods.

The Food Trust of Philadelphia trained the CHACS partners to give grocery store tours. The Food Trust, a nationally recognized nonprofit with a comprehensive approach to improving food access, identified corner stores as potential partners in the effort to improve access to healthy, affordable foods in underserved communities. The Food Trust created the Healthy Corner Store Initiative to support corner store owners committed to increasing the healthy food inventory in their stores. Our community partners are facilitating the initiative in Atlantic City to expand healthy food selections in community stores and encourage healthier eating habits.

“Our first event was a tremendous success,” said Laura Engelmann, MHA, community health and wellness manager at AtlantiCare, and a member of the Care AC coalition. “The Healthy Corner Store Initiative will be an ongoing effort to provide education and resources to the Atlantic City community. This initiative provides residents an opportunity to better understand where to find nutritious groceries at the corner store – making the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Pantry at the Plex

In January, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the Food Pantry at the Atlantic City Health Plex, a collaboration with AtlantiCare and the Community Food Bank, supported by a mini-grant from Care AC. Almost 200 patients receive services at the Health Plex daily, and many of them live in food-insecure households. The Pantry at the Plex will supply bags of food that can feed a family of four for three days. We recognize it is tough to be an active participant in your healthcare if you are worried about putting food on the table. This Pantry at the Plex initiative marries health services with the availability of food.

Connect with the Care AC coalition on Facebook or Twitter to follow our work, or to become a partner.

Marcia McCulley
AtlantiCare Foundation, Care AC