CAMDEN, N.J. - Campbell Soup Co. will spend $10 million over the next decade to lower obesity and hunger rates among children in its hometown of Camden, N.J., the Courier-Post reports. The first phase of the program will concentrate on elementary schools and services in Parkside and North Camden.
"We plan to concentrate our efforts on these sites in Camden and gradually expand to other locations until we have a citywide program," said Denise Morrison, COO of Campbell€™s. "Over time, we plan to extend it to other U.S. communities where we have operations."
While nationally, obesity rates are high, Campbell€™s CEO Douglas Conant said "it is even more acute in Camden." Close to 40 percent of the city€™s kids age 3 to 19 are obese€"8 percent higher than the national average.
The company will work with schools and other nonprofits to provide more access to affordable and healthful food, more opportunities for exercise and more health and nutrition information. Part of the plan includes adding a second major grocery store in the city, which currently only has one.
In addition, Campbell€™s, along with the Food Trust on a Healthy Corner Store Network, will facilitate the supply of fresh produce to small independent stores. A similar program has begun in Ohio.