Many low-income and minority communities have reduced access to healthy foods, which may contribute to unhealthy eating. This has led to interventions in existing small, neighbourhood stores (corner stores) to bring healthier foods to those communities. In 2011-2012, the Cook County Department of Public Health partnered with eight suburban community organizations in predominantly low-income, minority communities to increase healthy food availability in local corner stores. The project goal was to increase the capacity of partnering community organizations to ensure effective implementation and promote sustainability in a geopolitically complex region. This approach is unlike most corner store interventions, usually conducted within a single city or by a single organization. To evaluate the impact on community organizational capacity, interviews were conducted with key project staff from partnering community organizations in April 2012. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and qualitative analysis was conducted. Findings included that the training and materials provided by the project increased staff confidence in carrying out and sustaining the intervention. Individualized project support was particularly meaningful. Other aspects of capacity, such as leadership support and staff time, were limitations to project success. These findings will inform other efforts, especially those in large, complex jurisdictions, in implementing collaborative community interventions.
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