West Virginia food banks face an increased demand due to the pandemic

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Mountaineer Food Bank and Facing Hunger Food Bank have reported an increase in demand following the closure of all non-essential businesses.

The food banks said they will continue to operate at full capacity to feed the state’s most vulnerable. Kent Leonhardt, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, said that the emergency food supply chain has not–and will not–be disrupted despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both food banks in the state continue to receive USDA emergency commodities to distribute to food pantries and other feeding programs in all 55 counties,” stated Leonhardt.

According to a press release by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, both organizations have started to distribute Emergency Food Boxes to partner food pantries to keep up with the demand. The boxes contain “shelf-stable” food items, meat, and produce.

“Facing Hunger Food Bank has so many wonderful partner agencies without whom we could not meet the almost 40% increase in need that we have had in these early days of the crisis,” said Cynthia Kirkhart, executive director of Facing Hunger, “Although there may be tough days ahead, we are grateful to be able to partner with Mountaineer Food Bank and the Department of Agriculture to insure that all in need across our great state are served.”

The National Guard is helping to pack Emergency Food Boxes in the state. According to the press release, the National Guard is packing around 1,200 boxes a day.

The organizations said people can help by sending a donation. Donations are accepted by visiting mountaineerfoodbank.org or facinghunger.org. Every dollar donated can provide up to ten meals for those in need.

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