The story comes on the heels of a recent Brookings Institution report that food insecurity is up, and that about 14 million children in the U.S. are eating less these days. According to Save the Children, one in five children in West Virginia are food insecure, Knisely reports.
"When Gov. Jim Justice mandated that schools close in March, schools and nonprofits jumped into action to make sure food was available to kids," Knisely reports. "School lots turned into drive-in feeding sites, bus drivers dropped off meal boxes to kids hidden in hollers, and the National Guard assisted in food handouts. State officials said they served a million meals to students in one month. Then summer arrived, and the number of food sites shrank. School systems with tight budgets couldn’t sustain as many feeding programs or pay bus drivers to deliver meals to isolated communities. Many summer camps and in-person tutoring programs, which typically help feed kids in summer, never opened because of covid-19."
Justice has not directly designated any of the $1.25 billion the state was allocated in federal relief funding on any food efforts, but localities getting funds can use them for food relief, Knisely reports.