Kids Market @ The Store
A convenience store worker gives a child a sticker for the Kids Market at the Store program as his mother watches.
Kids Market @ The Store is a program created by the WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program that allows kids to “shop” for free fruits and vegetables at retail locations in their counties.
The program is open to all children aged 2 – 17. Each child receives a market bag and a passport and each family receives $30 in tokens.
Participating stores feature a Kids Market @ The Store (KM@TS) display, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables grown by West Virginia farmers. Kids “shop” from this display using KM@TS tokens.
“We have found that, if you let kids choose their own fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to eat them,” WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program Specialist and Assistant Professor Kristin McCartney said. “This program gives them that power while also removing any financial barriers for their parents.”
Each time they go shopping, store staff will put a sticker in the child’s KM@TS passport. At the end of the program, kids can mail the passport back for WVU-branded prizes.
Participating families also receive a weekly e-mail newsletter notifying them which fruits and vegetables will be available, have an opportunity to sign up for free nutrition education from the Family Nutrition Program and receive a copy of “I Love Vegetables,” a family friendly guide to buying, storing and cooking.
The program started in summer 2021 with @ the store. In 2022, KM@TS expanded to 22 West Virginia counties thanks to funding from the Walmart Foundation and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health and Wellness Foundation, as well as other funders. More counties could potentially be added before the program kicks off in mid-June.
For more information about Kids Market @ The Store, email firstname.lastname@example.org.