Support for Virginia Grocery Investment Fund

9/22/2017, 11:16 p.m.

Re “First Lady kicks off initiative to attract grocers to Va.’s food deserts,” Free Press Aug. 31-Sept. 2 edition:

As a lifelong resident of North Side, I was elated to attend the “Closer to My Grocer” roundtable where the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund was presented by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, state legislators and other advocates to win support from the General Assembly.

Growing up, there were several options for full service grocery stores nearby in my neighborhood. But over the years, that has dwindled primarily to corner stores that provide limited fresh foods. 

Even though I have access to transportation, many of my neighbors do not have reliable and accessible transportation options, which limits where they are able to purchase fresh food. 

When communities live without access to fresh food, they are more likely to suffer from diet-related disease. In Richmond, 40 percent of the population lives in a food desert or high poverty area with a lack of grocery stores.

At the event, I witnessed bipartisan agreement from Democratic Delegate Delores L. McQuinn of Richmond and Republican Sen. Bill Stanley of Franklin County to establish the proposed fund. 

Therefore, I support the creation of the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund, a private-public partnership to assist existing retail outlets to expand their capacity to offer fresh food and to create new healthy food retail outlets.