Child nutrition has been an AFSC priority here in West Virginia as far back as 1922. Our programs have worked to expand free school breakfasts and lunches statewide…but what happens when school is cancelled indefinitely?
Ironically, a bill we supported to address this issue didn’t pass during the session....maybe our theory (that feeding kids was a good idea) was correct.
With schools closed and stay-at-home orders in place, many children and seniors are at risk of going hungry. When the crisis hit, Liz Brunello of AFSC’s ACE (Appalachian Center for Equality) program teamed up with ally Jenny Anderson of Our Future WV to create a Facebook group called WV Food ER to provide information and identify needs, volunteers and resources. The group now has nearly 3,000 members. Check it out.
This quickly led to the creation of Rapid Response WV, which is composed of several organizations and individuals around the state. The website allows people to donate, request assistance or learn about volunteer opportunities and is organizing both the purchase and delivery of food products and hygienic necessities. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Rapid Response WV has helped over 180 families and has over 260 volunteers. Demand for this kind of assistance is only going to increase. The One Foundation, a key AFSC funder, has recently dedicated $10,000 to this effort.
Check it out if you want to donate, get help or volunteer.
There will also be plenty of opportunities for (remote) hell raising to get counties, the state and Congress to do right in the days ahead.