Samantha Taylor waited for the clock to tick past 12:01 a.m. Wednesday as she stood next to a cart loaded with groceries in a checkout line at the Euclid Avenue Food City.
The check-out line’s cashier, also was watching the clock, had already scanned the groceries, bagged them and placed them in Taylor’s cart.
All they had to do was wait until 12:01 a.m. when the money Taylor received from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the federal food stamp program, was deposited into her account.
“It’s loaded,” the cashier said, letting Taylor know she could swipe her electronic benefits transfer card through the scanner, pay for her groceries and head back home to her family with more than a week’s worth of food.
On Wednesday, Food City’s stores in Southwest Virginia stayed open two hours later so they could make transactions like this one possible for the almost one-fifth of the region’s population who receive benefits from the program.
The midnight run
In October, 45,867 Southwest Virginians – about 19 percent of the region’s population – received aid from the supplemental nutrition assistance program, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services, which manages the program.
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