RUMFORD — Children and parents visiting the Greater Rumford Community Center on Friday may be surprised to find healthy snacks and drinks near the front desk.

Carol Emery and Barbara Rajaniemi of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition asked Gary Dolloff, chairman of the center’s board of directors, about setting up a cooler with healthy snacks and drinks near the vending machines.

“They have candy for sale up there, and vending machines with soda in them, but we were looking for a way to give the kids a healthy choice,” Emery said Wednesday. “When we brought it up with Gary, he said if we could find a grant to get a cooler or a refrigerator, he would do it.”

“We’re trying to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Rajaniemi said.

Emery contacted Marden’s Surplus and Salvage, which donated a Nostalgia Electrics Retro Cooler. Thursday morning, Emery and Rajaniemi waited upstairs at the center to greet Dolloff and present it to him.

Emery told him, “The River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition agreed to stock the cooler with yogurt to start, and we reached out to Hannaford, who gave us a $50 gift card for you to use and stock it again when it gets empty.”

“This is awesome,” Dolloff said. “It gives the kids a chance to get something healthy when they come here. A lot of kids get here off the bus, and they’re hungry because they haven’t had anything since lunch. This is perfect.”

Emery said she hopes to have other local businesses donate money so the center can start a fund for healthy snacks.

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