CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There are critical shortages at food banks and pantries across the state, but now some major help is on the way.
Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) is sending in more money, fulfilling a pledge he made in this year’s State of the State Address.
Food pantries, such as the one at Charleston’s popular “Manna Meal,” are struggling to keep their shelves stocked. Blame it on inflation, or people being out of work, but food banks are having a tough time keeping up with demand.
Earlier this year, Gov. Justice established the “Posey Perry Emergency Food Fund,” in honor of his late uncle, a retired coal miner who volunteered in food banks for many years. Food banks and pantries can apply for a pool of grants totaling $10 million.
“That money is going to make such an impact in our community. We ourselves have just seen an exponential growth in the need for our food pantry and of course, everyone knows what food costs are now. I mean this money could not have come at a better time,” said Amy Wolfe, the Manna Meal, Executive Director.
“We’ll get this money to them and hopefully be able to help a lotta, lotta, lotta folks,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
According to census data from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, 17 percent of West Virginians live in poverty, including 25 percent of all children. The USDA says 14 percent of people in the state are considered “food insecure.”
The food grants will be managed by the “Mountaineer Food Bank” and “Facing Hunger Food Bank,” which oversee and help smaller food pantries across the state.
Now aside from the public funding, food banks and pantries still need donations of non-perishable food, and money from people in their communities. To help in the Charleston area, click here.