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Legislation would harm area’s needy

DEAR EDITOR:

Ohio Senate Bill 17 and Ohio House Bill 288, unnecessary and harmful measures that would inhibit SNAP access, will hurt Ohio’s recovery, worsen food security and health outcomes and prevent millions of federal dollars from flowing into Ohio communities.

More than 1.5 million people in Ohio use SNAP, giving families a modest lifeline to shop for the food they need. Trumbull County residents alone spend almost $50,000,000 in SNAP funds at local retailers to purchase groceries. These dollars are important to both the consumers and the small businesses that make up our local food economy.

All people need food security, especially in the middle of a pandemic and a recession. Public programs like SNAP, Medicaid and unemployment insurance are the strongest lifelines to ensure our neighbors have the support they need during these challenging times.

TNP’s 2017 Warren Community Food Security Strategic Plan reflects the lack of any grocery store in the entirety of the city’s southern half, and reveals that much of the city meets the dubious USDA threshold of “food desert.” The organization has worked to promote healthy eating through incentives like Double Your Dollars and Produce Perks at community stores, to host the Warren Farmer’s Market, and to support urban agriculture and local growers and food retailers. Our efforts seek to expand access to fresh healthy food for our residents and to support the local food economy; the bills in our state capital would serve to repress it.

During a time when 737,000 Ohioans didn’t have enough to eat over a week’s time, 1 in 5 Ohio kids are living in poverty and more than 130,000 children are uninsured, Ohio should be looking for ways to support struggling residents rather than put up more barriers to assistance.

Our state budget should focus on ensuring the residents of Trumbull County have every resource in place to recover from this pandemic.

MATT MARTIN

Executive director

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership

Warren

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