Hunger in Northwest NC
Unlike the vivid images of famine in third world countries, hunger in America plays out more subtly and privately. It plays out quietly in classrooms, as children try to keep up with their lessons; it plays out unobtrusively on city buses, as mothers travel across town to reach a grocery store with adequate, affordable produce; it plays out in hushed conversations between parents, as they try to stretch stagnant paychecks to cover the growing rent, the light bill, fixing the car, and—finally and all too frequently last—food.
Since the economic downturn, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC has seen the number of people coming to our partner agencies grow from 135,000 people to nearly 300,000 people. One-third of those we are helping are children. Many who are now seeking food assistance never imagined they'd have to turn for help to feed their families.
Watch WXII 12's Special Report on Childhood Hunger
The Silent Crisis
Feeding America, the national network of regional food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank, leads several research studies that provide a factual basis for our hunger relief efforts. Findings from the most recent studies (provided below) demonstrate the urgent need for each of us to find ways to be part of the solution to the problem hunger in our local community.
Take the Tough Choices Challenge
If you had to choose, would you buy medicine or feed your family? It's a choice no one should have to make, but many in fact do. Find out how your neighbors across our region are faring when it comes to making ends meet to cover life’s basic necessities. Take the Tough Choices Challenge here.
Hunger in America 2014
Every four years, the Feeding America network conducts the nation’s most comprehensive study of hunger and the critical role of Feeding America food banks and our partner agencies in addressing this serious issue.
Hunger in America 2014 provides revealing information about the circumstances of the people asking for our help – the challenges they face and the difficult choices they are often forced to make living on extremely limited household resources. The report also provides in-depth information about the characteristics and capacity of our partner agency network.
Local Report Summaries:
Highlights Report: Online View
Highlights Report: Printable To order free copies of report, e-mail Jenny Moore.
Hunger in Northwest NC One Pager
Map the Meal Gap
In April 2016, Feeding America released an updated Map the Meal report documenting the persistent and pervasive incidence
of hunger in every city, town, county and state in our nation.
Key Map the Meal Gap Findings:
- 17.7% of the population in North Carolina is food insecure (nearly 1.8 million people). Our states ranks 5th worst among the states for food insecurity.
- In the 18 counties served by Second Harvest Food Bank, 16.2% of the population is food insecure (326,000 people). Many of our counties are experiencing even higher rates of food insecurity.
- 24.1% of children living in Northwest NC are food insecure (1 in every 4 chidlren). Nationwide, 1 in every 5 children lives in a food insecure household.
- Map the Meal Gap also reveals that 24% of people who are food insecure in our region are ineligible for Food and Nutrition Services (formerly Food Stamps), while 25% of food insecure children live in households with incomes that make them ineligible for federal child nutrition programs. For these families in particular, Second Harvest Food Banks and our
network of partner programs offer a critical source of nutritional support.
Download County-level Food Insecurity Data for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC's Service Area - One Pager
Child Food Insecurity
A body of research shows that even mild under-nutrition experienced by a young child during critical periods of growth may lead to
reductions in physical growth and affect brain development, threatening a child’s natural abilities and potential. In 2009, Children’s Healthwatch, along with many other researchers, completed a report on the impacts of food insecurity and hunger on children’s health, growth, and development. This report focusinged on child hunger as a health problem, an education problem, and a workforce and job readiness problem. Suggestions for how to leverage federal and Feeding America programs to prevent child hunger are provided.
We know that children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, yet as a nation, we have yet to update our food system to meet the needs of this population. Working to end childhood hunger is a strategic priority of the Feeding America network.
In collaboration with our partner food assistance programs, schools, funding partners and others, we're turning the tables on
childhood hunger across northwest NC through targeted special programs.
Spotlight on Senior Hunger
Seniors whose fixed incomes have not kept pace with rising prices are also increasingly at risk of hunger. For older adults,
inadequate diets can contribute to or worsen disease and delay
recovery from illnesses.
A recent report issued by Feeding America in partnership with The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger shows that in 2011,
almost one in every 12 seniors above the age of 60 in the United States was food insecure. That represents 4.8 million
seniors nationwide, which is more than double the number of food insecure seniors in 2001. You can view the 8-page
Spotlight on Senior Hunger report here.
A follow up report, Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans, documents the
and nutrition implications of food insecurity among seniors aged 60 and older. The study reveals that senior food
insecurity is associated with lower nutrient intake and an increased risk for chronic health conditions.