CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Hunger and malnutrition are two of the biggest health problems in West Virginia but today at the State Capitol, there were efforts to address it. In fact, this issue is so dire, it is getting attention from the very top of state government.
Dozens of advocates who feed West Virginians in need gathered at the Capitol for the fifth annual “Hunger Free West Virginia Day.” It was a chance to inform the public and to lobby legislators for help in restocking food banks and soup kitchens.
During his State of the State Address two weeks ago, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice pledged an additional $10 million in state funds to help the food banks. People on the front lines of fighting hunger say the need is critical.
“Twelve coalfield counties in West Virginia. We have four Kentucky counties and Lawrence County, Ohio. So we’re in the Tri-State. About 130,000 souls that we feed every month,” said Cyndi Kirkhart, CEO of Facing Hunger Food Bank.
“We just took over the food pantry in August. So now we have 1,086 people we are serving a month,” said Shirley Justice of God’s Heart Food Pantry.
“Hunger Free West Virginia is a critical day for us. There’s a lot of people struggling out there. Over 200-thousand people in West Virginia are looking at food insecurity . They they’re unsure where their next meal is coming from,” said Chad Morrison, President & CEO Mountaineer Food Bank.
Food bank workers say one of the biggest challenges is getting meals to the elderly and home bound, as well as military veterans. They are always looking for monetary donations and volunteers. To help just go to the Facing Hunger Food Bank website or the Mountaineer Food Bank website.
Right now it’s estimated that 12% of West Virginians deal with hunger on a daily basis, and one-third of them are children.