In the past, the Rev. Carlton Lynch gave away free gas at a station on Hessen Cassel Road, thanks to a donation from Parkview Hospital.
It was part of a church outreach, he said.
This year, Lynch staged a similar giveaway, but this time he approached gas stations and asked them to donate gas cards. They did, but Lynch advised them that their donation wouldn’t prevent him from dealing with issues in the community.
So Friday morning, Lynch showed what he meant. Accompanied by some protesters, Lynch stood on the sidewalk in front of a not-yet-opened Shell gas station/convenience store at Hessen Cassel and McKinnie and gave away gas cards in a protest against the proliferation of what are called “C-stores” on the southeast side.
The area has enough gas station/convenience stores, Lynch said. Such stores might be profitable for the owners, but, “they’re not profitable to the people in this part of town,” he said.
What the southeast side needs is not gas stations but gas money, Lynch said.
“If you’re going to come to our neighborhood, at least offer some employment opportunities to people in our neighborhood,” Lynch said.
Lynch also said because the convenience stores accept food stamps, people are buying frozen pizzas and pop there instead of going to groceries and buying foods needed to make balanced meals for their families.
“It doesn’t help the community,” he said. “Convenience is costing our people.”
Lynch also believes the area would benefit from more restaurants. There are small, locally owned restaurants, and people should support them, he said, but Lynch would like to see chain restaurants that could provide jobs and meals for people in the area.