Today, Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) joined with leaders from government, health, the grocery industry and the community at a Statehouse Day Briefing to raise awareness and provide an update on the progress of the Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) program.
FCAP was honored to welcome our key speakers including Legislative Champions, Ohio Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson and Ohio House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, both greatly support the HFFO program and promoted the need for Campbell’s Market in Vinton County. “The HFFO program needs to continue to reach more communities in need”, said Senator Peterson. Ohio Rep Ryan Smith recounted, “HFFO was created to lower the risk for grocers to open and to provide healthy food access.” He thanked the Campbell family and announced that there are many other communities in need and we have a lot more to do. Our Community Voices, Kandace Jones, Neighborhood Association Leader from Euclid, OH, spoke on behalf of the importance that Simon’s Supermarket has in the Euclid Community and was excited to announce the grand opening on Saturday, February 4th. Rhoda Toon Price, Executive Director, Vinton County Senior Citizens from McArthur, OH, began with a chant, “The Campbell’s Are Coming!” Vinton County is very excited to once again have a grocer in the county with access to healthy food. The ground breaking for Campbell’s Market is scheduled for March. The Panel Discussion that followed, included Dr. Laxmi Mehta, cardiologist, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Ohio Grocers Association President and CEO, Kristin Mullins, Richard Campbell from Campbell’s Market and Simon Hussain from Simon’s Supermarket. The panel did an excellent job to promote the HFFO program and explained how HFFO benefits them. HFFO is Ohio’s first-ever statewide healthy food financing program. It provides flexible financing to eligible rural and urban healthy food retail projects in underserved areas of highest need throughout the state.
We appreciate the strong support the HFFO program has received from the governor’s office, state and federal elected leaders, health and economic development organizations, state agencies and public and private funders.
HFFO has funded five healthy food projects to date
Together, these projects provide more than 35,000 Ohio residents with fresh, affordable food. They are creating an estimated 114 FTEs and 53 construction jobs. They are also creating or expanding nearly 68,000 square feet of retail space.
HFFO’s pipeline of funding requests is full and overflowing. Currently, there are 38 projects seeking a total of $59 million in funding. Demand for funding far exceeds available resources, which is why we held the Statehouse event today – to encourage continued state funding support for the Healthy Food for Ohio program.
Why is continuing HFFO so important?
A growing body of research documents that people living in communities without a supermarket or other healthy food retail venue suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, high cholesterol and other diet-related health issues.
These health issues contribute to Ohio Medicaid spending $50 billion annually to address chronic diseases, most of which are tied to poor nutrition. Insights from grocers helped identify some of the key barriers that are keeping healthy food retailers from operating or expanding in areas that need them the most.
One of the most significant barriers is the lack of access to capital needed to fund land assembly, workforce training, security, transportation and other costs that are unique to grocery stores in urban or rural areas. Flexible funding is essential to helping grocers overcome barriers that have kept so many of them from operating in underserved communities.
Your continued strong support is essential as we seek additional state funding to meet the demand for grocery stores in communities that simply don’t have access to healthy and affordable food.
Click here for more information on HFFO.