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Workshop

Honesty About Food Scarcity Needed

Mountain State lawmakers are turning their attention to a problem that has plagued the state’s residents for generations, with the number of those it affects only increasing. Food insecurity affects one in seven West Virginians — one in five children.

That means that for 20 percent of our state’s kids, food is not always accessible or available, as so many of us take for granted it will be. Those kids face each day with the danger that they will be hungry.

House of Delegates members have formed a workgroup to address the issue, “dedicated to utilizing every tool at West Virginia’s disposal to help reduce hunger throughout the state.”

Delegates Larry Pack, R-Kanawha, and Chad Lovejoy, D-Cabell, will lead the group.

“We have plenty of evidence that shows us how deeply connected hunger is to other issues, such as overall health, mental health, academic achievement and economic prosperity,” Pack said. “We are committed to putting in the time and energy to truly understand not only what specific roadblocks are out there hurting our West Virginia families, but also what solutions we can implement in the near future.”

Let us hope the members of this group are serious about a multi-faceted approach. It is important not only in this case to give a person a fish, as it were, but to find solutions to the myriad problems that have kept some families from being able to fish for themselves — often for generations.

Making a bigger dent in the problem than simply providing food for kids and families — though summer feeding programs should be addressed again — will require brutal honesty about what keeps too many in the grip of hunger. Let us hope lawmakers have what it takes to not only “tackle this problem head-on,” as Lovejoy put it, but to find a solution.

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