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 the worried lives of seniors, as they struggle to afford both food and medications, and 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 in 2008, the Second Harvest partner network has experienced a huge surge in the number of people seeking food assistance, from 135,000 people to nearly 300,000 people, including 100,000 children. Second Harvest Food Bank has distributed record amounts of food since then, increasing our total distribution by nearly 350%. The Great Recession hit Northwest North Carolina hard.
Far too many families in our region are still struggling to find jobs that pay enough to cover basic living expenses. Rising costs for housing and other basic expenses, including healthcare, transportation and childcare are literally eatting up family budgets, leaving them with too few resources to buy all of the food they need. For many in our region, just getting to the nearest to the grocery store is another hit to precarious household budgets.
Importantly, while food insecurity in America has to do with quantity, it also has even more to do with quality. Food is expensive, and many families on tight budgets are filling their carts with calories, not nutrients. (84% of adults served by Second Harvest tell us they purchase less expensive food in an effort to provide enough food for their family, even when they know their choices may not be the healthiest option for their families.) As a result, obesity and food insecurity have a direct correlation in America, meaning that if you are looking for signs of famine as evidence of an epidemic, you will not find it here.
Learn more about hunger and our work in your community here.
Watch WXII 12's Special Report on Childhood Hunger
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.
Download Food Insecurity Data for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC's Service Area
Download North Carolina Congressional District Data
Child Food Insecurity
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 for Second Havest Food Bank of Northwest NC and the nationwide Feeding America network.
In collaboration with our partner food assistance programs, schools, funding partners, and others, we provide essential nutritional support for
children across northwest NC. Learn more about our programs working to put an end to childhood hunger.
Spotlight on Senior Hunger
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
Impossible Choices: Teens and Food Insecurity in America more narrowly examines the risky behaviors in which some teens engage when resources are scarce.