Policy Opportunities to End Hunger
According to Feeding America, nearly 35 million people across the United States and over 260,000 in West Virginia suffer from not being able to put food on the table. These numbers have only grown under the compound pressure of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
These stats demonstrate the growing problem of food insecurity, which the U.S Department of Agriculture defines as uncertain access to food, meaning you may not know when you can expect your next meal or how you’re going to pay for it.
While the cause of hunger may seem clear, the solution is more complex. It includes a mix of public-private partnerships (government support of local, community-based food systems), food justice advocacy, local activism, and federal policy innovation. With that in mind, below are some strategies that could help us make access to affordable, healthy food for the thousands of people facing food insecurity in WV and across the nation.
01.) Funding for critical infrastructure investment, including food hubs in Martinsburg and Morgantown.
02.) Ending Veteran Hunger.
03.) Bolster a state Farm to Food Bank program to aid food banks, food insecure West Virginians, and local producers through collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and partners.
04.) Addressing root causes of hunger by increasing the Feeding Families Prime program.
MFB 2022 Legislative Priorities
Addressing Critical Infrastructure
Expanding Mountaineer Food Bank’s Gassaway facility will increase West Virginia’s critical food infrastructure by increasing aggregate and food storage capacity in a centrally located facility to serve the state.
Establish and develop strategical community food hubs in Morgantown, Martinsburg, and Charleston that will increase access to nutritious foods.
Expanding Program Services
Funding and expanding Veterans Table programs will help the almost 10 percent, or 10,000 West Virginia veterans that are food insecure.
Growing the Feeding Families First Prime program in smaller community will develop food access for the most vulnerable by providing healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, and shelf stable option for families. Additionally, Prime sites will offer services that help clients address root causes of food insecurity such as health, underemployment, and substance abuse.
Investing in Farm to Food Bank Program
West Virginia lacks a robust program that enables West Virginia farmers and producers to connect with our food banks. Neighboring states Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have strong agricultural programs that are tied in the seams of food banks and producers. West Virginia needs to establish a farm to food bank program that will help food banks and local producers, increase access to nutritious foods for people facing food insecurity, and make West Virginia’s food economy stronger and more sustainable by shifting from heavily relying on food from out-of-state to food sourced by our neighbors
The time has arrived for transforming hunger relief efforts in West Virginia and the momentum with the Legislature and funding streams supports the creation of this change.
Facing Hunger Food Bank serves twelve counties in West Virginia out of the total of seventeen counties within our service area.
Over 111,000 souls in need, representing 42% of the total of our food insecure brothers & sisters in our great state, rely on FHFB for not only emergency hunger relief, but children & families need our back packs.
We have an ever growing Medically Indicated Food Box Program that has recently expanded to serve a proposed 1,771 diabetic patients in collaboration with Williamson Health & Wellness in Mingo County.
We focus on partnerships and growing the capacity of our partners & impacting those we serve.