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Stafford Cares program to support restaurants and families in need

From Stafford County:

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. Stafford Cares projects will address a number of social and economic impacts from mental health, physical health, and financial stability in Stafford.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism kicks off the first Stafford Cares project which provides meals from local restaurants to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in Stafford. This program is funded through a $782,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

“This project supports urgent needs, specifically for SNAP recipient families,” remarked Erik Johnston, Agency Director, DHCD.

The direct benefit serves two audiences. First, Stafford restaurants will get a critical infusion of cash, attract more customers, and increase sales. Second, the program addresses food insecurity concerns for families in need who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Stafford. Additional indirect benefits include increased local restaurant sales, workforce retention, and increased County tax revenue. Additional meals tax revenue supports Stafford public schools.

To participate in the program, Stafford restaurants must complete an online application that opens February 8, 2021.  The program will only accept up 100 complete applications.  Applications will close on March 8, 2021 at 12:00 PM or upon approval of 100 applications.

“This program injects working capital into our distressed local restaurants and supports our community by providing meals to disadvantaged families,” stated Director John Holden, Stafford County Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

This grant is made possible by the partnership with DHCD, Stafford County Social Services, and the Stafford County Department of Economic Development and Tourism. “Not only do we thank the Governor’s Office for their support and approval of this initiative but our Economic Development team who took action to make this idea a reality to benefit so many families,” stated Chairwoman Crystal Vanuch, Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

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.”

Restaurants who wish to participate in the Stafford Cares program must complete an application. For more information, visit www.GoStaffordVA.com/Stafford-Cares.

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