Sept. 17 is Hunger Action Day — A time to reflect on how hunger affects our communities every day. And this year, the coronavirus has increased the need more than ever before.
“There has been supply chain interruptions, there’s been interruptions to the workforce, people couldn’t go to work, people lost their jobs or their jobs disappeared overnight,” said Chad Morrison, CEO of Mountaineer Food Bank. “So, there’s been a lot of things happening over the last 18 months, and we have not fully recovered from that.”
Even without the pressure of the pandemic, according to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in West Virginia face hunger, and while government programs like SNAP help to feed those people, the state relies on charity organizations to fill in gaps. People’s Bank said that’s one of the reasons they decided to match donations to Mountaineer Food Bank up to $20,000 this month.
“We know that in the counties we’re in, hunger plays a huge role, and so we want to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to help with that,” explained Staci Matheney, President of Peoples Bank
As one of the largest organizations fighting food insecurity in the state, Mountaineer Food Bank serves 48 out of the 55 counties. Last year, they gave out 29 million pounds of food, but CEO Chad Morrison said they couldn’t have done it without help from the community.
“We work off donations. It’s critical to our success; it’s critical for us to continue feeding people in West Virginia,” said Morrison.
The food bank doesn’t just distribute non-perishable foods. They distribute necessities like diapers and have giant freezers and refrigerators full of fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy products.
“Even with all the programs going on, a lot of people are still on that thin line of not quite making it through the month,” said Morrison. “So we try to fill in those gaps and be there when people need it.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Mountaineer Food Bank can do so on their website.