When Jéssica Tabárez went grocery shopping on July 1 at the Vallarta Supermarket on Clinton Avenue near Highway 99, she didn’t expect to get free fruit for three of her four children.
Tabárez’ children – 8-year-old Jeimy Elorza, 5-year-old Kenya Elorza, and 4-year-old Yosgart Elorza – were among the first children who could enjoy a free piece of fruit while shopping with their families inside several Fresno groceries stores, as part of Valley Children’s Kids Eat Smart project, in partnership with Vallarta Supermarkets.
“Our goal is to increase access to fresh fruits and to encourage kids to choose healthy snacks,” said Lynne Ashbeck, Valley Children’s senior vice president for community engagement and population wellness. “Valley Children’s is committed to doing all we can to keep kids healthy across our network and in the neighborhoods where they live, learn and play.”
“And today where they shop. So we are thrilled to partner with Vallarta,” Ashbeck said of the program launched at the beginning of this month.
Tabárez, who lives in Biola, said the program is “wonderful. I’ve never seen this.”
Jeimy, Kenya and Yosgart picked bananas as their fruit of choice out of the three options – bananas, apples and oranges – available that day at that store.
“Vallarta Supermarkets shares our commitment to healthy families and has been a long-time supporter of Valley Children’s, so this partnership is a perfect match,” said Ashbeck. “We know our health is impacted in large ways and small. Sometimes we require to make big changes, sometimes is just small things.”
Ashbeck said they hope that the small thing is Kids Eat Smart program “for kids shopping at Vallarta stores in the city of Fresno that one piece of fruit, whether it will be the only piece of fresh fruit they get in the day or whether is one of five that they would get every day.
“For more than 30 years, Vallarta Supermarkets has taken pride in providing families with fresh, top quality groceries, and our goal is to see families growing happy and healthy,” said Vallarta Supermarkets Director of Marketing Rick Castillo. “Working together with Valley Children’s aligns perfectly with our own mission to encourage families to consume healthy and fresh fruits.”
“The Kids Eat Smart initiative provides a fun way for children in the Central Valley to enjoy their fruits, building healthy and long-lasting habits,” Castillo said.
Families visiting any Vallarta Supermarkets in Fresno throughout the month of July will have the opportunity to take a free piece of fruit for each child ages 12 years and younger from one of the displays marked “healthy snacks” or ‘Bocadillos saludables,” said Ruby Martínez, marketing manager for Vallarta Supermarkets.
“Parents be sure to stop by the produce department, pick up your fruit and enjoy,” said Martínez. “ The stores offering the program are located at 3850 N Cedar Ave; 1951 W Clinton Ave., and, 4831 E Butler Ave.
Valley Children’s and Vallarta Supermarkets have been Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partners since 2012. During the past seven years, six of their Central Valley stores between Fresno and Porterville have raised more than $386,000 for Valley Children’s.