His wife works at Subway. Even with their combined incomes, they have to rely on food stamps to get by.
"There are some people, like me, who can't make it without some help," Napier said.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for food stamps, provides an average benefit of $1.40 per meal.
The U.S. House of Representatives, with exclusively Republican votes, passed a bill last week that would cut the program by $40 billion over the next 10 years. West Virginia Reps. Nick J. Rahall and Shelley Moore Capito voted against the cuts (Capito was one of only 15 Republicans to vote against the bill); Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., voted for the bill.
Storm Coleman, 15, lives with his disabled mother, his brother and his sister in Logan County. He remembers when he was younger, waking up hungry and feeling sick because there hadn't been enough to eat the night before.
Coleman urged the Legislature's Joint Committee on Children and Families to consider families like his.
"Put yourself in their shoes, or my mom's shoes," Coleman told the 11 lawmakers. "You're overweight, you're in pain all day and you've got three kids to take care of."
About one in five West Virginians, and one in four West Virginia kids, lives below the federal poverty line -- $23,550 for a family of four -- according to census data. Nearly 60 percent of West Virginia households earned less than double the poverty threshold in 2012, a level generally considered low-income.
"Living at or near poverty is the norm for kids in West Virginia," wrote Stephen Smith, director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, a primary sponsor of the symposium. "This problem is not about trying to rescue a few kids and families who live at the margins; it's about fixing an entire system where working parents can no longer afford to support their kids."
The policy symposium presented 18 ideas -- one for each year of a child's life - for the Legislature take up to alleviate child poverty in the state.
The proposals tackle economic policy (affordable housing, a state earned-income tax credit), criminal justice (more substance-abuse treatment, reforming juvenile justice) and health policy (more recess and physical education in schools, restricting soda from SNAP benefits), among others.
The list eventually will be winnowed down to five concrete policy goals for 2014's legislative session.
Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, said that, after passing legislation expanding school breakfast programs last year, the Committee on Child Poverty, which he chairs, hopes to focus on early childhood education, increasing physical activity for kids and affordable-housing projects.
The symposium sponsors said they also hope to register 7,500 new voters this year, in the process, connecting working families with services like Medicaid and SNAP that they might not have realized they were eligible for.
"Poverty," Shrader said, "is not a child's fault."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.