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Kids can get free fruit at downtown Navicent Health market

This is what it’s like shopping for groceries in a food desert

Midtown Macon became a food desert when the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue closed in April 2018. Telegraph reporter Samantha Max set out on foot to find groceries near the now-vacant supermarket.
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Midtown Macon became a food desert when the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue closed in April 2018. Telegraph reporter Samantha Max set out on foot to find groceries near the now-vacant supermarket.

Rosie’s Market, tucked inside the Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital at the Medical Center, Navicent Health downtown, is offering something that you don’t see often at many food stores.

Children age 12 and younger can grab a free apple, orange or banana outside of Rosie’s Market, located on the first floor of the hospital between the Emergency Center and main lobby, according to a press release.

The market is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

When you enter the market, you can’t miss the sign advertising the free fruit. It’s near bins of apples, oranges and bananas. The tiny market has been offering free snacks since the hospital’s renovation in February.

“We just wanted to be able to provide a healthy alternative for kids who may already be here at the hospital or who may be visiting someone at the hospital,” said Millie Smith, a registered dietitian at the hospital. .

“Just a healthy snack option for them that’s easy to grab and go. We put it at their eye level so it can be appealing for them.”

Navicent Health is located in a food desert, as the nearest grocery store is Kroger, which is 1.6 miles away from the hospital.

Residents in the area who don’t have a car have to either walk, take a bus or find another form of transportation.

“We’re kind of an urban oasis here in downtown Macon. There’s not a lot of grocery stores or places that you can go and really get fresh fruits and vegetables easily,” Smith said.

That’s one reason why the free fruit in Rosie’s Market is a good option for children in the area, Smith said. Another reason is the benefits of fruit.

“Fruit’s a great option for antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber. It’s a really good option, and if we can build those habits of reaching for something like that for a snack instead of processed foods or a bag of chips, then those are habits that can last for a lifetime,” she said.

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