A new grant will help those at West Virginia University Extension Service offices continue expanding access to healthy foods in the state.

The $658,000 grant from The Walmart Foundation will help thousands through the “Appetite for a Healthier Future” program in several counties, including Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Mingo and Roane.

“This is the first time we’ve strategically picked counties that we can do all the programs at the same time and try to hit people from every angle,” Kristin McCartney, public health specialist with WVU Extension Services, said.

The program provides free, fresh food to people at their doctor’s offices and schools.

“It really says a lot that in the middle of a global pandemic, a statewide opioid crisis and everything else that’s going on that we still have to address something as basic as food,” Roane County Schools Superintendent Richard Duncan said.

Food pantries in each of the counties will also receive cold storage capabilities.

The WVU Extension Service Family Nutrition Program will also provide nutrition education and obesity prevention services throughout the state.