First Lady Michelle Obama joined leaders from major retailers, foundations and small businesses today to announce commitments that will provide access to healthy, affordable food to millions of people in underserved communities. The commitments from SUPERVALU, Walgreens, Walmart and regional retailers will include opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.
These stores estimate that they will create tens of thousands of jobs and serve approximately 9.5 million people in these communities throughout the country. Currently, 23.5 million Americans – including 6.5 million children – live in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and healthy foods. Studies have shown that limited access to healthy food choices can lead to poor diets, higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases.
“The commitments we’re announcing today have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents can’t buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk. Let’s Move is about giving parents real choices about the food their kids are eating, and today’s announcement means that more parents will have a fresh food retailer right in their community – a place that sells healthy food, at reasonable prices, so they can feed their families the way they want.”
Mrs. Obama has been leading a nationwide effort to combat childhood obesity so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. The Let’s Move! Campaign is a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that has sought to engage every sector of society to tackle head-on the many different factors that lead to childhood obesity. Today’s announcement is a historic step towards addressing that issue and achieving the primary goal of Let’s Move! – solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President identified access to healthy, affordable food as key to solving childhood obesity. In February 2010, Mrs. Obama traveled to Philadelphia where she announced the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a multi-million dollar public and private investment to improve access to healthy food. The President’s 2012 Budget proposes funding for the multi-year initiative to increase the availability of affordable, healthy foods in underserved urban and rural communities. The Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Treasury are proposing $330 million in financing to community development financial institutions, other nonprofits, public agencies, and businesses with sound strategies for addressing the healthy food needs of communities.
Brown’s Super Store – Committed to building one new supermarket in Philadelphia and expanding one existing store in Chelthenham, PA. Brown’s Super Stores is a family owned and operated supermarket chain of Philadelphia area ShopRite supermarkets and was founded in 1988 by President and CEO Jeffrey Brown. Brown operates 10 ShopRite Supermarkets in the Philadelphia area, with five of his stores located in communities that were previously underserved communities.
Brown will be opening one new supermarket in North Philadelphia and expanding an existing location in Chelthenham, PA as part of Mrs. Obama’s campaign. The state-of-the-art stores will feature several new innovations including a culturally inspired International Foods Department, Health Clinic, social service office and Pharmacy. Brown expects this expansion and new store will create approximately 325 jobs and serve 150,000 people.
PHOTO: Jeff Brown, Pres./CEO, Brown Family / ShopRite Stores
“It’s about entrepreneurs like Greg Calhoun and Jeffrey Brown — all of them are stepping up. They decided to take that risk. They decided to make that investment, because what they knew was how big that payoff could be. Not just in terms of dollars, but in the lives of our children, the lives that we can save.
You see, they didn’t do this just as executives who care about their company’s bottom lines — and I’ve met these people. They did it as parents and as grandparents who care about the health of our kids. They did it as leaders who care about our country’s future. And I think that Jeff Brown put it best when he said, and these are his words, “We’re not going to be on the sidelines.” He said, “We’re going to be right with our communities using what we’re good at: solving problems through innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.” And I have had the pleasure of seeing firsthand what happens when folks like Jeff put that innovation and entrepreneurial thinking into work in our communities.”
–First Lady Michelle Obama