By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some corner stores around Philadelphia are getting help to provide healthier food to the communities they serve.

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State representative Dwight Evans says in communities where it’s difficult to get to a grocery store, many people are nourished through corner store food alone.

“So if you turn the corner store around, you will turn the neighborhood around,” Evans said today.

That’s why the Philadelphia-based Food Trust is working with several hundred corner stores throughout the area to improve their fresh food offerings.

Brianna Almaguer Sandoval, director of the Food Trust’s “Healthy Corner Store Initiative,” says her organization is helping neighborhood stores overcome obstacles to providing produce.

“Corner stores often struggle with space,” she explains.  “They’re very small, oftentimes they don’t have the refrigeration — or it’s broken down — to stock perishable items.  And then they’re not used to selling products that go bad and managing them.”

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She points that storekeepers are being trained to rotate their perishable stock, check for expirations and spoilage, throw out items that have gone bad, and still make a profit.

Rep. Evans says his role was to help obtain funding for fresh food refrigeration in stores, and marketing.

Salinat Rodriguez, co-owner of the Polo Food Market at 10th and Brown Streets, says the initiative seems to be working.

“Now the children, instead of grabbing a bag of chips, they grab an apple, a banana,” she says.  “So I think that’s just great!”

The other stores taking part in the pilot program are Olivares Food Market, 171 Wharton Street; Indiana Food Market, 2952 North Fifth Street; Yellow Front Market, 1700 Ridge Avenue; and Corner Food Market, 3401 North 16th Street.

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