CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Gov. Justice took time to recognize the two most prominent food banks in the state – Facing Hunger Food Bank and Mountaineer Food Bank – for their efforts to help ensure all West Virginians have access to food, even in the face of the pandemic.
Collectively, these two food banks have distributed over 34 million pounds of food since the beginning of the pandemic 10 months ago. This resulted in more than 26 million meals being provided to West Virginians across all of the state’s 55 counties.
In partnership with the West Virginia National Guard, over 1,800 food boxes were aggregated and distributed daily between the two food banks in an effort to address the growing demand for food due to pandemic.
“Thousands of miles were logged as the food banks took their teams into communities all across West Virginia, providing over 518 mobile food distributions,” Gov. Justice said. “The West Virginia National Guard also stepped up to help them create the Hunger Free West Virginia Center at their Rock Branch warehouse.
“We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our food banks and to our great, great National Guard,” Gov. Justice continued. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank them.”
The Governor was joined for today’s briefing by Cindy Kirkheart of the Facing Hunger Food Bank and Chad Morrison of the Mountaineer Food Bank.
“Thank you to Governor Justice,” Kirkheart said. “What we really want to talk about is the important partnership that you’ve provided since the end of 2019. Your support of our state’s food banks is what’s made us able to make these achievements even during a pandemic. So we are here to also pay homage to you and to thank you for your work.”
“Your support, and the support of the West Virginia Legislature, really elevating the issue of hunger, has been just a tremendous success for us,” Morrison said. “Of all the things that were not great about 2020, one thing to take away was that we are generating a conversation about hunger. Even before the pandemic, 260,000 people struggled with hunger and, as you can imagine, many more are struggling with hunger now due to COVID-19. It’s so important to keep this issue out there and we just appreciate that support, and we appreciate you recognizing the food banks as part of the critical infrastructure of West Virginia.”
In honor of the Governor’s contributions to creating a hunger-free West Virginia, Kirkheart and Morrison surprised Gov. Justice during the briefing, honoring him with the “Hunger Hero” award for 2019-2020.