For one in six Ohioans, hunger and food insecurity is a constant threat to their wellbeing and livelihood. This is higher than every surrounding state, as well as the national average. Often, these situations are exasperated by the inability to access nutritionally adequate food; when this inability becomes a chronic problem faced by a community, the area is defined as a food desert.
In 2014, when the last full-service grocery store closed its doors in Vinton County, they became a food desert and food insecurity heightened as residents no longer had easy, reliable access to fresh produce and meats. Families were forced to travel at least thirty minutes to Chillicothe, Athens, Logan, or Jackson to find a grocery store, which puts a strain on time and resources. For the last few years, one of my top priorities has been to find a way to offer relief to the hardworking people of Vinton County, and on March 20th, we finally broke ground on the new Campbell’s Market.
Bringing Campbell’s Market to McArthur has been a collaboration between the federal and state government, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses. I am grateful to State Senator Bob Peterson and Representative Ryan Smith for helping to secure state seed funding, which is provided at the state level to support new businesses that contribute significantly to the community.
Likewise, thanks is due to the Finance Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is dedicated to connecting communities with public and private sources of capital. The Finance Fund was awarded $2 million in federal funding through the U.S. Treasury’s Healthy Foods Financing Initiative to help provide healthy foods across Ohio. Campbell’s Market will benefit from a financing grant and loan package of $1.58 million from the Finance Fund Capital Corporation.
With both the grant and seed funding, it was possible to leverage private support for the new business, owned and operated by Mr. Richard Campbell. This effort is truly a public-private partnership, and is a great example of how government and communities can work simultaneously to improve countless lives. Again, a huge thank you is offered to everyone who has been involved with this project.
As your Congressman, it is my goal to do everything in my power to support the hardworking families of Ohio’s 15th District. I strive to find solutions that empower citizens to provide for their families and share in the American Dream. When Campbell’s Market opens in August of 2017, it will bring choices and access back to McArthur. It will be an oasis for Vinton County, no longer a food desert.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the efforts to end the food desert in Vinton County, please feel free to contact me in my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2015 or in my Lancaster office at (740) 654-2654. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and through my e-newsletter at www.stivers.house.gov.
Steve Stivers is a member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.