Letter: Neighborhood wants retailer, meals stamps

Public and private funding with federal and state support made a grocery store in my former hometown of McArthur, Ohio, in Vinton County, a wonderful reality this past December. I followed it with interest, remembering the stores that had come and gone there. Before December, it was considered a rural food desert with a grocery store closing a few years ago.

This area is full of hardworking, kind and generous people who instilled in me a sense of community for which I am forever grateful. There also is a heavy concentration of rural poverty that instilled in me a sense of empathy and need for empowering others that I am forever working to share.

Elimination of food deserts should also be consistent with support for affordable access to the stores created. Statistics show that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) helps ensure affordable access to healthy food, lifts many people out of poverty, and is an important revenue source for stores, especially those that are small and local such as that which just opened in McArthur. Yet, reductions and restrictions are now in place, with work requirements that do not make sense in areas with few jobs or job-training opportunities.

I urge U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and others who helped make this store possible to remember those in poverty and maintain federal funding for SNAP. Deficits created by tax cuts for the wealthy should not be reduced by food cuts to the poor.

Allyson Wessells

Upper Arlington


Leave a Comment