Stafford County Economic Development and Tourism Department in partnership with the Stafford County Social Services Department recently purchased $742,000 in meal cards and certificates from local restaurants.
Launched earlier this year, “Stafford Cares” will provide those meal certificates to 3,800 Stafford Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
“This program injects working capital into our recovering local restaurants and supports our community by providing meals to disadvantaged families,” stated Director John Holden, Stafford County Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The project is funded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The CDBG was awarded to Stafford County in December to provide dual support to the Stafford restaurant industry and local families in need. Stafford County purchased a total of 152 meal cards and certificates from each participating restaurant, each valued at $97.63. The program included 50 restaurants. A 2-month request for proposals allowed eligible restaurants to apply to the program.
Stafford Cares is a county wide initiative that includes a number of new programs and projects fostering the well-being of Stafford citizens and businesses. These programs are designed to help many in need, as our community recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first round of meal cards will be distributed to SNAP recipients in July. The Stafford County Social Services Department is responsible for the distribution to families. There will be a second round of meal certificate distribution projected for later this summer or early fall.
Stafford Social Services Director Michael Muse adds that the “Stafford County Social Services’ mission is to strengthen the family structure while promoting self-reliance, responsibility for family, and empowerment by building on family strengths. We appreciate community participation and this alliance to bring revenue and meals to our community.