(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
Despite the rain a few local youth and area advocates were out on River Street in Mattapan Thursday to plant a new tree.
Two students from the Mildred Avenue Middle School, Alex Perez and Johnny Hoang, both seventh-graders, and members of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition planted the new flowering cherry tree in front of World’s Best Foods.
Donated by the Boston Natural Areas Network, the tree will help aid in beautifying the neighborhood and encourage a healthier atmosphere in the community, said advocates. It is part of the ethos of the Food and Fitness Coalitions’ Healthy on the Block initiative.
“Along with helping bring healthy food options to the store as part of the program we wanted to help improve the building’s exterior too,” said Vickey Siggers, the lead organizer for the initiative. “We need more green, which is also part of a healthy community.”
Grant funded, the program aims to combat obesity and the lack of healthy food options in communities by partnering with area corner stores to bring in more fruits, vegetables, and low calorie beverages.
In addition to the Food and Fitness Coalitions partnering with World’s Best, it also works with Mama’s Market, A Work In Progress, and the Mattapan Square Mobil Station.
“The tree makes it [the store’s exterior] nicer and helps change the perception of what a corner store is and the healthy foods it carries,” added Javier Gutierrez, a project manager with the Boston Public Health Commission, who helped plant the tree Thursday.