|Right now, as the Austin City Council considers the fiscal year 2015-2016 city budget, we need your help to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all Austinites.
A diet including fresh fruits and vegetables is imperative to healthy eating and healthy bodies. But not everyone in Austin has a healthy choice. Many people in our community live in neighborhoods lacking any fresh or healthy food options.
Coupled with limited mobility and transportation, shopping for and cooking a healthy meal for one’s family is all but impossible for too many Austinites. Community stakeholders overwhelmingly agree there is a need in Austin for a properly funded Healthy Corner Store Initiative program to improve the quality of life in areas lacking healthy food options. This program will help small-scale stores, such as convenience stores, corner stores and neighborhood stores offer healthy food options and engage with local communities to develop support for healthy food options.
The Healthy Corner Store Initiative proposed budget item is at risk. Some council members want to change the intent of the program, which would limit its impact on the health of all Austinites.
Yesterday, the concept menu item 1.29 for a Healthy Corner Store Initiative was decreased to $150,000. An increase in funding of no less than $100,000 while maintaining the $50,000 for a retail education coordinator totals $300,000 and is ideal. This is necessary for the success of the program and will provide impactful healthy food access in underserved, low to moderate income areas. Without proper and adequate funding, we lose the opportunity to fully address the community need and the program will not have the essential public health impact.
P.S. Mark your calendar for next week: Attend city council meetings during voting on the budget on September 8, 9 and 10! We will be providing T-shirts for volunteers. Reply to [email protected] with any times you are free to attend.