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Philanthropist donates $9M to Mountaineer Food Bank

GASSAWAY, W.Va. — The Mountaineer Food Bank in West Virginia has received a $9 million gift from the philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The gift was received from Scott, a writer and the second richest woman in the world, in late 2020, according to Chad Morrison, CEO of the Mountaineer Food Bank.

“We are convening with our board of directors, leadership team, and other stakeholders on this transformational gift. We’ll be working hard to ensure that this philanthropic gift entrusted to us will help more West Virginians access healthy, nutritious foods,” Morrison said.

Plans on how the gift will be used will be released later. Only 384 organizations across the country were selected for contributions.

“This investment in West Virginia is a vote of confidence in the work we are all doing together to end hunger in our state,” Morrison said. “We wouldn’t be here without our 450 plus member agencies, our volunteers, and all of our donors – individuals, businesses, and foundations that support us with financial contributions at every level. Everyone that has given food, funds or time to feed families in West Virginia should be extremely proud of this recognition.”

West Virginia is seeing an unprecedented hunger crisis. Prior to COVID-19, West Virginia had the 11th highest food insecurity rate in the nation with 250,600 struggling with hunger.

Those numbers have soared by 30 percent to 324,500 during the pandemic. Mountaineer Food Bank has distributed over 24 million meals in 2020, an increase of almost 7 million meals from last year.

“This is an opportunity to start the change of the hunger narrative in our state, but the problem is much bigger than what one philanthropist can solve. The support we’ve received from all of our donors has led to this moment,” Morrison said. “When we all come together and contribute to the solution, our goals come within reach. With this investment and the continued generosity of West Virginians, we can end hunger.”

Scott is the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, and the third richest woman in the world with a worth of about $55 billion. She has donated $4 billion to organizations in late 2020.

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