Going backward to move forward

Dear Editor, We hear food, gas, tuition, electricity and health care are going up in cost. We hear kids’ quality of education is heading south and so are the kids. We talk about family values, community and jobs lost. We hear politicians refuse to work together for the true good of the people while allowing debt to escalate. Is anyone listening?

If you are listening, you may be hearing that we once took care of ourselves and family, we grew what we needed, we didn’t have credit cards, cell phones or computers. We had time to get to know our neighbor, as well as our children. Heck, we helped raise each other’s kids. And a person could make a living without spending a king’s ransom getting an education.

If you could take good lessons from the past and add modern day resources, would you be willing to try to recapture those times?

As a community, we do have the option to regain much of what has been lost. Stokes’ Future, Inc., is a foundation that plans to do just that. Still in the beginning stages, they are already presenting how we can reclaim our youth, farmers, food and jobs. The primary plan is provide our citizens with a year round community/school-based grocery store. Thanks to new farming techniques and bar coding, this is possible.

Here is how it works: anyone from Stokes County who produces foods or crafts can become a member. Each member has an account with a barcode. If the product is food, it will be sorted with other like food. Crafts will have their own kiosk, also with an account and barcode.

Members will not have to monitor their products like they do at farmer’s markets or craft shows. Consumers buy and pay just like any other store. Membership is nominal, and the members keep 70 percent or more of the sales price. The 25-30 percent remaining will be used for operating costs. The cost for products will be comparable to a regular retail store.

It’s a win-win-win for everyone! The members have a stream of income, a job and the potential to create jobs. The consumers pay normal prices, save gas and get better quality food. The county earns a fair sales tax which will help keep property taxes down. Students get to be involved and have ownership of operations, as well as learn a trade.

And don’t forget the 500,000 tourists that visit. Even they will have a place to spend money.

One of the biggest wins will be our county’s hungry. Twenty-five percent of our county does not have enough food. The county’s Food and Nutrition Program spends 55 percent of its total expenditures on food stamps. This expenditure totals well over $8 million.

Luckily, the federal government pays this, but what if this changed? Our property taxes could be at risk of rising over .27 per hundred! With Stokes’ Future, Inc.’s nonprofit status, farmers can donate through the foundation to help provide food for our hungry. The farmer gets a well-deserved tax deduction.

The Foundation doesn’t plan to stop there. The intent is to have a cannery, restaurant and bakery to enhance and support the grocery store, thus creating more jobs and healthier community. No, it won’t happen overnight. There is much work to be done, as well as money to be raised. With the nonprofit status, citizens in and out of the county can enjoy a tax-deductible donation for a project in which everyone wins.

The two most asked questions are, “Where will it be located?” and “When will it be done?” The desired location for the project is en route to Hanging Rock, either via Hwy. 89 or Hwy. 8. Some factors for this are: one — tourists, and two — citizens in that area of the county need the facilities most.

As for when, a small storefront being open is very possible within the next year. With plans to be fiscally responsible, paying as we go, it will take several years to see the whole project to fruition. But all good things are worth working and waiting for!

If you are interested in being involved or learning more, check out www.stokesfutureinc.org or email stokesfuture@aol.com. Ronda Jones Danbury Read more: The Stokes News – Letter to the editor