It’s also been particularly tough on children and some of the effects aren’t so tangible.
The 2021 Childhood Report by Save the Children ranked the best and worst states for children in the past year.
They looked at four categories to rank the states; levels of food insecurity, access to tools for remote learning, and the family’s ability to pay basic bills.
The fact that these were the biggest difficulties children face wasn’t surprising to some because they were issues long before the pandemic. However, organizations said the ranking isn’t an accurate reflection of all the working being done.
COVID has really shone a spotlight on inequities that existed in this country long before it began.Shane Garver, Senior Director for Rural Education, Save the Children
West Virginia ranked 38 out of 50 and some of the biggest issues, like internet access, aren’t just a problem here.
To be clear, kids all across the U.S. are struggling with this. The digital divide impacts urban kids too, but there’s more opportunities for local solutions.Shane Garver, Senior Director for Rural Education, Save the Children
It’s not just a rural-digital divide in the Mountain State, it’s also a rural-food divide.
Specifically, child hunger, from about 20% for the entire state up to about 28%, which is significant. It’s a significant jump just for a short period of time.Chad Morrison, CEO, Mountaineer Food Bank
We knew that before the pandemic began for instance, 30 million kids across this country relied on the free breakfast, free lunch as their primary source of nutrition.Shane Garver, Senior Director for Rural Education, Save the Children
Morrison said the Mountaineer Food Bank always struggled with the question, how do we get food to people or people to food? Now, they’re working in overdrive.
The two food banks have distributed over 15 million more pounds than they did in 2019.Chad Morrison, CEO, Mountaineer Food Bank
With school remote and other services shut down the food bank tried to increase mobile food pantries and other distributions, but communities have also shared the responsibility.
I know of teachers and bus drivers going door to door delivering food. Those things are happening. Access is always an issue in our state. There’s people out there trying to fill those gaps.Chad Morrison, CEO, Mountaineer Food Bank
If you’re wondering how Ohio ranked on the childhood report. The Buckeye State was 31 out of 50.