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West Virginians “Taking the Next Step” Against Hunger

November 30, 2007

Fairmont, WV – The holiday season and the end of the tax year make this month a top time for charitable giving to food banks in West Virginia. The latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers show almost one in ten West Virginians faces food insecurity, and an event today in Fairmont encourages citizens to take the next step in fighting hunger, by volunteering and getting involved in policy issues that can help tackle its root causes.

Sarah Soltow with Community Lutheran Partners says when people get involved in hunger relief, they see that it's often working families who rely on emergency food assistance.

"People start to see hunger relief as, 'This is close to me,' or, 'This is my son or my daughter, my neighbor or my friend at work, who has these same struggles.'"

Soltow says while food donations are vital for people who need emergency food relief, it will take more than charity to solve the problems of hunger.

"There are policies and issues that are very directly pointed to not helping people, and if certain policies were adjusted, not only would West Virginians be better off, but the whole country would be better off."

She points to a recent analysis showing that hunger has a $90 billion impact on the American economy, in part because it contributes to health problems and lost productivity. The same report says it would cost just $12 billion in federal support for food stamps and other nutrition programs to virtually wipe out hunger, nationwide.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WV