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MFB receives portion of $10 million Posey Perry Emergency Food Fund

Lawmakers appropriated $10 million for the Posey Perry Emergency Food Fund during a special legislative session called by Governor Jim Justice. Moutaineer Food Bank will receive a large share of that funding.

State lawmakers approved millions of dollars in funding for food assistance programs around West Virginia for a second straight year. The funding will go to Mountaineer Food Bank based in Gassaway and Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington.

The food banks, in turn, will distribute the funds through their partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, community and senior centers, school feeding programs and other sources of aid to West Virginia’s hungry population. 

The first $10 million in state funding was appropriated to the food banks last October.

“There couldn’t be a time when (the need for) additional food funds are greater,” Mountaineer Food Bank Director of Advocacy Caitlin Cook told the Clarksburg Exponent in a recent interview. “A tremendous decrease in federal commodities, West Virginia; families are facing a 21% increase in grocery costs; and retail donations are down,” Cook added.

“It’s a really wonderful avenue for us to be able to support our pantries at an even higher level than we do on a regular basis,” said Facing Hunger Foodbank Chief Development Officer Samantha Edwards.

Mountaineer Food Bank and Facing Hunger are the only two food banks in West Virginia, providing nutritional supplies to several hundred food pantries around the state,

“We are still serving 23% more food than we were prior to the pandemic,” the Facing Hunger representative explained. In addition to the long-term effects of the pandemic, inflation has been another primary reason for increased participation in these programs.

These issues are further amplified for senior citizens, many of whom are on a fixed income. “Seniors are one of our most vulnerable populations. Many of them are having to choose between utility bills, rent or buying certain foods. The more support we can provide our food pantries, the more support we provide our seniors,” Cook said.

“Food is the foundation to success. It is tied to so many things in our state, like workforce participation, health care, chronic illnesses, health care costs. When we talk about our future workforce being our students, if they go to school hungry, they can’t focus as well,” Sheadded.