MCDOWELL COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Inflation continues to impact everyone in different ways, some even find themselves fighting a war on two fronts.
From social distancing to traveling excessive distances for food. Many in McDowell County feel as though they went from one pandemic to the next.
Jimmy Gianato owns one of the only restaurants in Kimball, and in the last few years, felt the effects of both the pandemic and inflation.
“We have even gotten to the point where we have to put up a sign “prices are subject to change” because an order that comes in today may be different than what came in yesterday,” said Gianato.
He struggled with the decision, as he needs to keep his business alive, but knows when it comes to good food, there are very few choices in the area.
Kimball is one out of almost two hundred food deserts in the mountain state, an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, the nearest grocery store is a forty-mile trip one way. To make matters worse, many people in the area cannot afford the continued rise in prices.
“Food prices are up 20 to 30 percent and when you are on a fixed income it is very difficult to survive. A lot of people live month to month here,” said Gianato.
Not only do rising gas prices make the journey to a grocery store a perilous one, but when they arrive, they find the price for food is through the roof. While there are organizations that work to solve the problem in the long run, people who feel the immediate impact are left with tough questions.
“When it comes down to feeding my family or leaving the place I have always known, there are no two questions about it there is no question about it,” said Ventriss Hairston, a lifelong resident of McDowell County.
Hairston is not alone. She sees a similar struggle throughout the community on a daily basis. She believes if things do not improve soon, many will face tough decisions.
“And many people are leaving they don’t want to but if you can’t make a life for your family there is no other choice and so they ride out of here with tears streaming down their face and all they want to do is feed their families,” said Hairston.
Leaving many people out on the road, searching for affordable food, and a light at the end of the tunnel.