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The Center for Great Neighborhoods partners with Covington corner stores for health initiative

Healthy food choices build healthy bodies, and healthy bodies build vibrant communities.

Making healthy choices begins with access to healthy foods, and The Center for Great Neighborhoods is working to ensure residents of Covington have that access.

“Kentucky is at the bottom 10 percent of most health indicators, and Kenton County is no exception. According to the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas, 7 percent of Kenton County residents are considered to have limited access to healthy foods,” said Kate Esarey, Program Manager for Community Development at The Center. “We want to make sure every Covington resident has access to healthy foods, and we’ve formed some strategic partnerships to help us reach this goal.”

The Center has partnered with Kenton County Plan4Health (KCP4H) and four corner stores in Covington’s Westside, Peaselburg, Mainstrasse, and Latonia neighborhoods to increase offerings of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables to Covington residents.


Plan4Health connects communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health.

The Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition (KCP4H) is working to provide access to nutritious food across the county. Efforts include a county-wide assessment of underserved neighborhoods in addition to a series of actions addressing affordability of and access to healthy food.

The participating stores, Kimmy’s Korner, Bill’s Food Mart, Gutierrez Deli, and Bob’s Food Market were chosen, in part, because of their proximity to schools. The concentration of families living below the federal poverty level in those neighborhoods, as well as their distance from full-line grocery stores, were also factors.

The Center and the corner stores are encouraging Covington students to pick healthy snacks after school by providing them with “Healthy Bucks.”
The Healthy Bucks will be distributed at nearby schools including John G Carlisle, Glenn O Swing, St. Augustine, Latonia, and 9th District Elementary schools. The students will be able to exchange their Healthy Bucks for healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables.

“We want to teach children in Covington how to make good and healthy eating choices to help fuel them with energy, grow strong, and develop good habits,” said Esarey. “The stores we’ve partnered with are dedicated to providing healthier food and invested in their communities.”

The stores have all upgraded their offerings to reflect the needs of their individual communities.

“We want to make sure every Covington resident has access to healthy foods, and we’ve formed some strategic partnerships to help us reach this goal,”Kate Esarey, Program Manager for Community Development, The Center for Great Neighborhoods

Here is a brief description of the participating merchants participating and the upgrades that will help them contribute to the program:

*Kimmy’s Korner: Kimmy’s Korner is located on Main Street a few blocks from John G Carlisle, a Covington elementary school. The store is adjusting its inventory based on a survey of community members. The freezer and refrigerator were upgraded to introduce more fresh and frozen produce.

*Gutierrez Deli: Gutierrez Deli is located on MLK boulevard, a few blocks from John G Carlisle, a Covington elementary school. Many of the customers are Hispanic, so the deli provides vegetables and fruits specifically used in their cooking. The refrigerator and freezer are being upgraded to allow the store to carry more products. Additionally, the store plans to start making fresh fruit smoothies with a new smoothie machine.

*Bob’s Food Market: Bob’s Food Market is located off Madison Avenue across the street from Latonia Terrace and near both Latonia and 9th district elementary schools. Many of the customers are families looking for meal ingredients. In order to provide customers with healthy meal starter options, Bob’s Food Mart received a refrigerator for fruits and vegetables, a freezer, and a dry goods bin.

*Bill’s Food Mart: Bill’s Food Mart is located on 19th Street near Glenn O Swing and St. Augustine, Covington elementary schools. As a result, many students stop by the store after school to pick up snacks. A refrigerator was provided to store healthy snack options for the students.

In addition to outreach in the schools, the stores are offering samples and sharing recipes to increase demand for healthy offerings from all community members. The Healthy Corner Store initiative will kick off in February with neighborhood events at the stores. For more information about the Healthy Corner Stores initiative, click here .

The Center for Great Neighborhoods has been a catalyst for growth in Covington since 1976. The non-profit organization is committed to helping people discover and develop their skills, find and use the resources they need, and discover partners who share their concern for the well-being of Covington.

Center for Great Neighborhoods

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One Comment

  1. Laurel says:

    All well and good but Covington still needs a decent grocery store like Fresh Thyme, Whole Foods, Country Fresh, Trader Joes. As it stands you have to travel to Newport or Cincinnati to shop at one. It’s a known fact that property values increase when there is a fresh food source located with 1 mile of a home. We are way behind our neighboring cities.

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