Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Lawrence Nichols.

Committee Co-Chair

Ronald Althouse

Committee Member

Jennifer Steele


Hunger in West Virginia has long been considered a problem that stems from high poverty rates and rural low access communities. The purpose of this study is to assess the stability of emergency food providers in economically distressed counties in West Virginia. Data was collected from Clay and Webster counties, of which Clay is considered low access and Webster is severely low access or a food desert. Administrators of emergency food providers were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding basic information about their program, changes in client usage, and possible threats to the existence of their program. The questionnaires were followed up with in-person interviews to collect more information and expand on the results of the questionnaires.;The results showed that 83% of programs in Clay County and 100% of programs in Webster County face one or more problems that could threaten their existence. This compares to a national average of 67%. The two largest concerns for programs include access to food and funding for the operations. Overall, this study has provided important information that can be used towards further projects on food access gaps. The research can be used as an outline for creating strategic partnerships between various agents of the food sector in West Virginia to address the root causes of hunger and develop new solutions.