BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — Food deserts in southern West Virginia are becoming a growing problem.
The Bluefield Union Mission serves as a buffer to those experiencing life in a food desert.

According to https://www.wvpublic.org/, there are more than 200 food deserts in the state of West Virginia.

Director of the Union Mission Craig Hammond, said without a healthy food source, processed foods are the only option.

“Just being dependent on convenience store food, which we’re grateful that they’re here but it’s not of the quality that you need for healthy eating. So what we need are things like an apple or raisins that are low in sugar but very healthy to eat,” said Hammond.

Proximity and accessibility are factors in food deserts as well.

“Having proximity to a food service establishment is one thing. But having proximity to and accessibility to good, healthy, nutritious food is quite another. And a lot of folks may have access to that shelf stable food but they don’t have it to the fresh produce, even frozen food is better than shelf stable food,” said Hammond.

Hammond said if you do live in a food desert or are struggling to afford healthy options, the Mission’s doors are always open.