Beginning July 19, Calhoun County kids will be able to get free fruits and vegetables at six participating stores through a new program by the West Virginia University Extension Service Family Nutrition Program.
Kids Market @ The Store is free to any child ages 4 to 17 in Calhoun County, thanks to a partnership between the WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program, the Sisters Health Foundation and local farmers.
Once parents sign up, children receive a reusable shopping bag and passport in the mail. When they try a locally grown fruit or vegetable from a participating store, they receive a sticker for their passport. Kids can mail their passports back at the end of the program to receive WVU-branded prizes.
“We want kids to make healthy food decisions. And if they pick something themselves, they’re more likely to eat it,” WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program Specialist and Assistant Professor Kristin McCartney said.
The program isn’t only about providing free fruits and vegetables to kids, though.
“Like other Family Nutrition Program projects, Kids Market @ The Store allows us to provide local farmers with a reliable source of income," McCartney said.
The program will be available at the Outdoor Store in Arnoldsburg, the Mini Mart in Chloe and Chloe Auto & Hardware, Foodland in Grantsville and the Grantsville Farmers Market, as well as Miller’s Kwik Stop in Mount Zion.
Participating stores will feature a variety of local produce for children to choose from. Parents can pick up recipe cards for easy-to-prepare, family-friendly dishes.
Sign-ups are still open for the program. Those interested in participating in the program should complete the online survey at https://wvu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9BvcQ1mKrQlsCbk. Stores also will have a limited quantity of bags and passports for families to sign up on the spot.
WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program’s work is supported by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local WVU Extension Service office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension Service news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @WVUExtension.
CONTACT: Kristin McCartney
WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program