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Corner Store Partners With FoodLink To Become Neighborhood Health Hub

FoodLink's community store program aims to improve access to healthy foods. They have partnered with local business owners to turn a corner store into a healthy produce grocery in the North East Section of Rochester.

Shawnadre Cruz has been living on Furlong Street since 1995. She says she loves having access to fresh produce at the Public Market, but she knows not everyone in her neighborhood has that luxury.

"There's a lot of elderly people in this area who may or may not be able to get out to get to the public market, or don't have transportation, et cetera."

Cruz says a lot of kids around Carter Street are also dependent on corner stores for food, which is why T&K Fresh Corner sounds like a good idea to her.

T&K - aka Takele Delnesa and Kiflu Embaye - have been working with FoodLink for over a year to open as a local hub for health food. The whole store is designed to emphasize nutrition - from the vegetable garden out front to the healthy living information available to kids in the neighborhood.

Not everyone is in love with the idea. A group of children attending a ribbon cutting ceremony for the store's opening were offered sample cups of maize salad. They laughed and made faces while testing. One girl retreated to the front of the store to spit out the concoction, but leaders of the program hope exposing the neighborhood kids to alternative foods with improve choices about their health in the future.

T&K also does not sell any cigarettes or alcohol. By all accounts, it's a far cry from BoBo's, the bar that used to occupy the space. FoodLink Executive Director has high hopes about the community store initiative.

"Foodlink's mission is not only to end hunger but to leverage the power of food to build a healthier community and healthier neighborhoods throughout our region. T&K is doiung just that."

T&K will accept SNAP and WIC and is located at the corner of Carter and Manchester Streets.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.