Giant Food and Ripken Baseball encourage youth to Get Out & Play

By: Mary Duggan

(June 6, 2017 – ANNAPOLIS, Md.) How many times have you asked your child to just sit still? Now, a recent study shows they’re doing too much of it—and Giant Food wants to get them moving.

The research, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, reported that children spend 41-51 percent of their time after school in sedentary activity. In other words, after sitting in class for hours on end, children spend half of their time at home watching television, skimming social media, eating dinner and doing homework.

To counter those unhealthy habits, Giant Food of Landover partnered up with Ripken Baseball to combine the fundamentals of America’s favorite pastime with nutritional programming.

“We try to introduce kids to a full scope of wellness,” Public and Community Manager of Giant Jamie Miller said. “Not just the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, but also nutrition.”

Miller said each of Giant Food’s stores have sponsored at least one local baseball team every spring and summer. Four years ago, Giant Food partnered with Ripken Baseball. That team travels to Giant store communities to host what it calls Get Out & Play. From May through July, 7-12-year-olds learn the basics of baseball and the importance of staying hydrated in warm weather. Plus, they sample fresh produce for free.

Over the last several years, Giant has added more in-store nutritionists to help educate consumers. The summer clinics are a continuation of that effort.

“From a brand standpoint on a grassroots level, it allows our stores to be even more connected to the community,” Miller explained. “Our nutritionists are at the clinics providing healthy snacks and our local stores are the ones bringing the product.”

According to Miller, kids—and parents—can be easily intimidated by certain fruits and vegetables. Giant aims to make it fun to try new things, like kiwi or edamame. “We really are working very hard to let our customers in the local community know that Giant is a resource from a health-and-wellness standpoint. We’re not just a local business with canned food on the shelf.

“We feel responsible for the communities that we serve and as a major business in Maryland, it’s important for us to a play a role in educating our shoppers to make healthy choices.”

As the Giant Food and Ripken Baseball partnership continues to grow and make an impact, there is much to be learned from its noteworthy success.

“It’s important to find partnerships within the community that are strategic,” Miller revealed. “A business can’t do everything for everyone or partner with every local organization. As a business, you have to be strategic by saying, ‘What is our skillset and how can we partner in a way that makes the biggest impact?’”

The partnership with Ripken Baseball has helped Giant find its niche by answering the same question.

“So many kids are somewhat sedentary,” Miller said. “If Giant can play a role in encouraging kids to get outside, be active and learn about nutrition at a young age, it’s something that they can carry with them for their rest of their lives.”

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