The Blue Zones Project is known for its push for better health for area residents, but now it is making a push for literacy.
Stephanie Jackson, director of strategic partnerships for Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, said providing books and supporting literacy is key to creating a community that embraces and supports children and their families.
“This initiative supports the whole child,” Jackson said. “Promoting physical, emotional and nutritional well-being ultimately supports positive learning outcomes.”
Books are currently available at the Hulen and Camp Bowie Tom Thumb locations and will soon expand to additional Tom Thumb and Albertsons Fort Worth stores. They will also soon be added at Central Market’s Fort Worth store.
Customers with young children can now borrow a book at the entrance of some area Tom Thumb grocery stores for children to enjoy while they shop.
But the books aren’t just to entertain children. The books were intentionally selected to engage and educate children about the many things they might see while in a grocery store – particularly healthy fruits and vegetables, where food comes from, and the importance of those who provide our food.
Some books also cover mindfulness, another topic that is important to well-being, especially in children. The books are available for a variety of age levels — even picture books for the youngest shoppers.
Jackson said store managers were enthusiastic to collaborate with Blue Zones Project to support the pilot program and increase reading in the community.
“Albertsons Tom Thumb was aware of Fort Worth’s reading initiative and thought it would be a great way to support families, especially at the early stages of development during their shopping experience,” she said.
This isn’t the first Blue Zones Project program that has involved literacy as a component of well-being. Blue Zones Project is active with the city’s Read Fort Worth initiative and often provides books to area schools that support their Blue Zones actions. But it’s the first collaboration involving area grocery stores.
“Having our Blue Zones Project Approved grocers partner with us is another way we can support our community and make those small changes that ensure our community is a healthier and happier place to live,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project Fort Worth.