The COVID-19 pandemic has yielded devastating consequences across West Virginia, especially for children. According to new data released by Save the Children, West Virginia ranks 42 out of 50 states for child food insecurity rates, and 19% of kids growing up in Kanawha County are food insecure.
Child hunger is not an isolated issue, and it adversely affects all aspects of a child’s development, from their education to increased health risks. And, since COVID-19, this issue has only worsened. I encourage Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to support and quickly enact policy solutions that ensure kids don’t continue to go hungry.
Tackling this challenge requires policy changes. One way to do this is to temporarily increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits by 15 percent in the next federal coronavirus relief legislation. This would ensure that families have the resources they need to put food on the table while also helping stimulate our economy by increasing spending at neighborhood grocery stores and other local businesses.
Ensuring kids can eat during this uncertain time should not be a partisan issue. Every day that goes by without real, substantive action is another day that an innocent child goes to bed with an empty stomach.