The Mountaineer Food Bank is hard at work every month, making sure that hunger is addressed in 48 of the 55 counties in West Virginia. But with teacher protests entering their fifth day tomorrow, they’ve also been receiving more requests for help to keep kids out of school fed and healthy.
“So the calls started coming and what we’ve been offering is these backpack boxes which are neat little kits that have a breakfast lunch and a dinner in them,” said Mountaineer Food Bank’s Laura Phillips.
Those boxes also include some snack items for kids to enjoy, and the food bank is sending hundreds of them out every day. But the food bank can’t get to every county that’s facing extra need, so local food banks have been diverting what resources they can to help get food to those who need it most.
“In their pantries and their backpack program rooms, they’re pulling resources, and say hey, we only deliver to each county once a month, so can we get more food by our next delivery?” Phillips said.
Food bank staff said thankfully, their communities are stepping up to help fill the bill; many local pantries are reporting an increase in donations since the protest began, and a ten-thousand dollar donation from Aetna will go to ensure that the Mountaineer Food Bank and its partner pantries have plenty of things to keep on their shelves.
“That money’s going to be used to help to replenish where some of our agencies that were having to use their current stock, that money will be available to replenish their stock and be sure that the food is here for them to access,” said Director of Development Becky Conrad.