The chief executive of RaceTrac testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture that the convenience store industry plays a critical role in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing a convenient place for economically-disadvantaged citizens to purchase food.
RaceTrac CEO Max McBrayer Jr. appeared March 11 before the Agriculture Committee that convenience stores help alleviate food insecurity in the United States by providing 24-hour food access for SNAP beneficiaries, especially those living in rural areas.
RaceTrac and RaceWay stores provide nearly 1,700 SNAP-eligible food products at 750 locations operating in 11 states throughout the Southeast United States. RaceTrac’s stores, which are open 24 hours a day, process roughly 3 million EBT transactions per year.
“No American should go hungry,” McBrayer Jr. said in his written testimony submitted in advance of the hearing on Food Insecurity in the America. “RaceTrac’s participation in SNAP enables beneficiaries to access food without excessive inconvenience or expense. Low-income Americans often work – and shop for food – during unconventional hours. The convenience store industry accommodates this.
McBrayer added that RaceTrac stores are often the only easily accessible retail food store located in a particular area and are consistently open longer than other large-format food retailers and thus provide extended hours during which customers can access food.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the percent of SNAP transactions at RaceTrac stores has doubled, according to McBrayer. Among the overall increase in SNAP purchases among adults, RaceTrac said it has experienced an increase in SNAP purchases by homeless adults as well as an increase among students who use EBT before or after school to purchase snacks or lunch.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated what was already an unacceptable situation,” McBrayer said in written testimony.
“It is clear to all of us at RaceTrac that many of our guests have been struggling to make ends meet and are experiencing food insecurity,” McBrayer said. “SNAP benefits are critical to ensuring that our most economically vulnerable citizens have access to the food they need.”
Transcripts of the hearing, including McBrayer’s input, are available at the committee’s “A Look at Food Insecurity in America” hearing page.
Headquartered in Atlanta, the family-owned RaceTrac has been serving guests since 1934. RaceTrac, together with its franchise-brand RaceWay, operates more than 750 convenience stores in 11 states and employs nearly 10,000 people.
McBrayer appeared with the help of NATSO. Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., NATSO is the only national trade association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry. It represents more than 2,000 travel plazas and truckstops nationwide, owned by over 220 corporate entities.
Truckstops, travel plazas and convenience stores were deemed “essential critical infrastructure” by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and have remained open throughout this pandemic, providing food and fuel to the public.