The City of St. Petersburg and St. Pete Free Clinic partnered to open the first FRESH Pace Healthy Neighborhood Store. This program provides healthy food to people and families living in areas with limited access to these options.
The first store opens at Rajax Food Mart and Meat Mart, located at 2327 Dr. Martin L. King Jr. St. S.
“The FRESH Pace Healthy Neighborhood Store Program is a shining example of how we are putting our ARPA dollars to work and addressing my administration’s Neighborhood Health and Safety Pillar for Progress,” said Mayor Ken Welch. “Through our partnership with St. Pete Free Clinic and Rajax Food Mart and Meat Mart, FRESH Pace will expand grocery store options in South St. Pete while improving access to healthy foods for families in need.”
How the Program Works
St. Pete Free Clinic teams up with local stores to discuss marketing plans and sustainable ways to stock nutritious options such as fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, whole grain items, and low-fat dairy products or dairy alternatives. The store has healthy recipes available for customers to look through.
According to the City of St. Petersburg, the clinic assists with subsidizing food costs for the stores. Additionally, SPFC helps business owners navigate the process of federal assistance programs like EBT and WIC.
Jennifer Yeagley, SPFC CEO, said the clinic interviewed more than 100 potential stores.
“At SPFC, we believe access to nutritious food is a catalyst for health equity,” said Yeagley. “We are excited to partner with the City of St. Petersburg to certify Rajax as the first FRESH Pace Healthy Neighborhood Store.”
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the City of St. Petersburg funds the FRESH Pace Healthy Neighborhood Store Program. The City’s press release states ARPA budgeted $45 million in recovery funds from the COVID-19 pandemic. With those funds, $1.179 million has been allocated for Food Security, which includes this new program.
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