By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. will showcase Tupelo’s healthy initiatives at the national Congress of Cities and Exposition in Phoenix this week.
Tupelo was among 24 cities chosen to highlight their achievements at the annual event this year, and Reed was among a small handful of people asked to speak.
The event is hosted by the National League of Cities, the group responsible for the All-America City Award which Tupelo has won four times, including once this summer.
“I’m excited,” said Reed, who will spend several days in Phoenix as part of the conference and exposition. “Hopefully we can make a contribution to the country, as well as to ourselves.”
Reed will talk about the healthy initiatives he has championed either personally or through his Mayor’s Task Force on Health. Since taking office in 2008, his administration has promoted fitness and good eating habits through a series of programs like the Mayor’s Marathon, Trim Down, Tone Up Tupelo and Health On A Shelf.
Health On A Shelf will receive extra attention in Phoenix as a featured program in the exposition.
Launched six months ago, Health On A Shelf partners with convenience stores to offer a selection of sensible foods alongside the traditional fatty fare like candy bars and potato chips.
It began at Papa V’s in downtown Tupelo and since has spread to the Dodge stores. Another set of convenience stores also has signed up and will soon offer the healthy fare.
“People are buying it,” said Papa V’s owner Johnny Robbins. “Some items move better than others – yogurt parfait and fruit cups are popular. And we’re doing salads and smoked chicken tenders.”
Reed said the event will be good publicity for Tupelo and a chance for the city to share its experience with others across the country, as well as take home some lessons and ideas from others.