Fewer people coming to food pantries doesn’t mean there’s less hunger

Marshall County
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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)

The number of people showing up at food distributions is dropping.

But Marshall County Family Resource Network Executive Director Stacie Dei says food insecurity hasn’t gone away.

“We need to start asking questions about the reasons behind the numbers,” Dei said. “A food pantry may only be open from 1 to 2 p.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Maybe the person has gone back to work and can’t get there at that time. Maybe they don’t have a car, can’t get a ride or don’t have access to public transportation. It doesn’t mean there’s less need or less hunger.”

Dei said she realizes that most food pantries are run by volunteers out of churches, and are doing the best they can.

She also says a surprising number of people with food insecurity are seniors, not young families as most people would expect.

When the FRN did mobile food distributions during the height of the pandemic, 60 to 70% of the people showing up were seniors.

She said many of them face transportation issues, and many are still concerned about going out among the public with the Delta variant making COVID even more easily spread.

She said we need to ask questions about the causes of the numbers, rather than accept the numbers at face value.

“There is still a lot of food insecurity out there,” she noted.

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