QUEENS — A new grocery store offering healthy food to mothers on food vouchers is opening in Jamaica.
The store, set to open early next year in Jamaica Market, will be operated by Mother’s Nutritional Center, a California-based grocery chain specializing in serving communities that have limited access to healthy food.
Among its features are a children's play area and a nutritionist, according to the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit local development organization which operates the market.
The grocery — which opens in a neighborhood where affordable and nutritious food options are scarce and where obesity rates are among the highest in the city — is designed primarily for women who receive coupons through the federal WIC (Women, Infant, Children) program, but will also serve the general public, according to Greater Jamaica.
The chain is planning to open six similar stores in New York, including one in Corona and another in Flushing.
The store will also distribute healthy recipes and offer prepackaged baskets with products that can be purchased for vouchers, Greater Jamaica said.
According to the Mother’s Nutritional Center website, the goal is to provide “a stress free voucher shopping experience.”
Simplifying the process and providing assistance to WIC recipients aims to take away the stigma of food vouchers, said Mary Reda of Greater Jamaica.
Shoppers who use WIC coupons will also be able to avoid confusion over what products can be redeemed, a common problem at larger food stores, Reda noted.
The grocery, which has a grant from Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects, will offer fruits and veggies from local farms affiliated with the market.
“The WIC store, linked to the Farmers’ Market and the Jamaica Market, provide a synergy in helping residents eat healthier and live better,” said Carlisle Towery, president of Greater Jamaica.
Representatives from Mother’s Nutritional Center could not be reached for comment.