The art of healthy living | News, Sports, Jobs

WARREN – To encourage healthy shopping, eating and exercise, the Lit’l Mac Food Store, 1763 Parkman Road, is now adorned with a mural created by Alex Savakis, a native of Warren, which is on display on the northwest side of the store.

Savakis’ mural, which measures 8.7 feet high by 34 feet wide, encourages people to plan their meals with fruits and vegetables and to exercise every day.

A graduate of Akron University’s Graphic Design Program, Savakis has illustrated beer cans for Warren’s Modern Methods Brewing Company; exhibited digital paintings and photos of buildings for the Trumbull Art Gallery; and illustrated “Warren OH.”

Savakis received a grant of $ 6,000 for the mural project.

The mural encourages healthy eating and exercise in middle- and low-income neighborhoods, where there are few fresh produce stores within a mile of residential households.

“We are working to rename what were traditionally called the corner stores into neighborhood community stores”, Christian Bennett-Mosley, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership coordinator, said. “Often these are stores with which people feel connected to those who operate them and with whom they have a good relationship. Neighborhood residents often buy most of their food from these neighborhood stores. “

Lit’l Mac has been at its current location since 1991. It previously had two stores in Champion and Niles.

“Food insecurity in the neighborhoods is not a problem Warren”, she said. “It’s something that’s happening in neighborhoods across the county, across the region and across the country. “

The partnership received a grant in 2016 to study food insecurities in Warren. This funding was the result of a planning grant of $ 31,551 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the USDA. The results showed areas of food insecurity all over the south of the city and in a few neighborhoods in the north.

Building Healthy Communities, Healthy Community Partnership and TNP funded the mural project.

“Bringing visibility in the community by installing this mural will help promote the importance of healthy eating and active living. “ Kris Kriebel of Building Healthy Communities said. “Artistic design sends a positive message to the community to seek their own health outcomes. “

“This mural will showcase the Healthy Community Store program in Trumbull County,” Bennett-Mosley said. “It’s a great showcase for changing the narrative of what our community stores can offer in our neighborhoods.

“This mural is dedicated to all those involved in the food justice movement. Producers, vendors and farmers, organizers and practitioners, political influencers and community leaders, churches, schools and families and all those who work tirelessly to create a healthy and fair food system ”, Bennett-Mosley said.

She said a second mural project will take place next year.

TNP has been working for several years to forge relationships with neighborhood stores in the region.

“In the case of Lit’L Mac and other local stores, we have helped them connect them with food distributors within 30 miles of their store that provide fresh fruit and veg,” Bennett-Mosley said. “Some are participating in TNP’s Double Up program, where stores will receive coupons that allow consumers to buy more vegetables for less on their next shopping trip.”

Stores, such as Lucky Seven and Garfield Foods, also participate in the Double Up program.

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