Voucher Program Delivers Fresh Fruits and Veggies into Historic South L.A. Community

Since the start of its implementation phase in 2017, the BUILD Health LA Initiative has enrolled 15 stores into the COMPRA Foods Collaborative program! Thanks to this partnership, more than $3500 of fresh fruits and vegetables have been infused into the Historic South LA community in the past 5 months!  

The task of incorporating fresh produce into the local markets was more challenging than simply delivering cases of fresh fruits and vegetables to corner markets. Produce management is harder than it seems, and people need training to learn how to properly manage produce on a regular basis. This is where our youth leaders stepped in.

Our youth from Santee Education Complex and Thomas Jefferson High School received a course from our friends at Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) on produce management, pricing and profitability and marketing, all geared towards a small corner store business. With this knowledge, our youth visited our corner stores on a weekly basis and provided technical assistance to store owners. Their goal: Increase the sales of fruits and vegetables.

To go along with the efforts of our youth, the BUILD Health LA Initiative also started a year-long free food voucher campaign. This campaign gives community organizations the opportunity to provide free food vouchers to their members or patients.

How does it work? It’s very simple:

  1. Community Organizations or Clinics receive vouchers from National Health Foundation. Each voucher has a $5.00 value.
  2. These organizations or clinics then distribute the vouchers to community residents. There is no sign-up process, and no personal information is collected.
  3. Community residents can then go to a participating corner store and redeem their voucher for up to $5.00 of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. At the end of every month, National Health Foundation collects the vouchers redeemed from corner store owners and reimburses corner stores for the vouchers accepted.

This simple process allows many different community members to participate in the voucher campaign. Additionally, this campaign will support the participating corner stores in raising awareness of the new fresh fruits and vegetables available in their store.

This upstream intervention that we are creating with BUILD takes into consideration a “whole-community” approach while leveraging partnerships to achieve a specific goal. By doing so, we hope that we can effectively create small, consistent changes in a neighborhood, that together, will build a better future for a community.

Stay tuned for more news on our corner store partnerships!