The State of Hunger in Northeast North Carolina
Hunger is an issue that affects millions of Americans every day. At times, it can seem like a distant problem, happening only in faraway countries or in urban areas with large homeless populations. But that is not the reality. The reality is that 42 million people are food insecure in our country, including 16.5 percent of people living in North Carolina. It is higher right here in northeast North Carolina where 18.8 percent of the population lives with Food Insecurity. That means 58,040 people in northeast North Carolina towns and neighborhoods do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life. For children, the number is even higher: nearly 24 percent of children face hunger right here in Bertie, Beaufort, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington —that is one in three children.
Each of those 58,040 is worried about having enough to eat. It might be the clerk who bags your groceries or the father down the street whose company cut his pay. Perhaps it is your elderly neighbor whose fixed income doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the cost of her medications or the child in your daughter’s class who has trouble paying attention to the lessons. Our clients are children, families, veterans, students, senior citizens, single parents, the unemployed and underemployed—hunger can affect anyone.
At the Food Bank of the Albemarle, we believe the prevalence of hunger in our community is unacceptable. We have the expertise to fight food insecurity in northeast North Carolina, but we cannot do it alone. It is only through sophisticated and innovative partnerships that we can solve these problems and continue to serve the hungry families that rely on our services every day. When all children have enough nutritious food to grow and learn and when everyone has access to the food they need to stay healthy, will we ensure a stronger future for North Carolina. By working together will we make that possible.
The Food Bank of the Albemarle is proud to be a member of the nationwide Feeding America network of 200 food banks leading the fight against hunger in the United States. Likewise, we are members of a statewide association of Feeding America Food Banks collaborating on initiatives that address hunger in all 100 counties in North Carolina.
Our membership with Feeding America affords us access to some of the best data and research reports regarding domestic hunger. One such report is Hunger in America and the other is Map the Meal Gap report.
This study of hunger has been conducted on a quadrennial cycle since 1993. The previous publication was Hunger in America 2010. The most recent iteration of the study, Hunger in America 2014, was released in August 2014 and revealed that annually, 46.5 million people are reached by the Feeding America network. HIA 2014 is based on more than 60,000 client and 32,000 agency surveys, capturing detailed information about who is in need of charitable food assistance and their circumstances, which, in turn, helps charitable feeding organizations develop programs that best support people in need. The results also better inform the public policy discourse so that federal nutrition programs can better serve those in need.
Map the Meal Gap Report provides a detailed assessment of food insecurity gap and the estimated food cost necessary to close the meal gap.
The annual meal gap in the Food Bank of the Albemarle’s 15 county region of northeast NC is 10,275,469 meals annually. In 2015-2016, the FBA provided food for the equivalent of 4.3 million meals. The Board of Directors adopted the Bold Goal agreeing to focus resources toward closing the meal gap by 2025. We believe that no person should sacrifice food for basic necessities such as shelter, heat, or medicine consequently we will aggressively work to bring enough food into northeast North Carolina to close the meal gap.
- 18.8 percent of the population or 58,040 people are food insecure1
- 24 percent of children or 15,550 children are food insecure2
- 57 percent of children are enrolled in free and reduced meal programs at school3
- 73 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for utilities and buying food each month4
- 65 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for transportation and buying food each month
- 43 percent of our client households have a household member who had worked for pay in the last 12 months
- 61 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for housing and buying food each month
- 31 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for education expenses like student loans, tuition or books, and buying food each month
It’s hard to make ends meet in northeast North Carolina:
- In 2015, the self-sufficiency wage for a single parent household (one adult, one preschooler and one school-aged child) is $4,741 per month ($27.35/hour for 40 hours per week)—the median wage in northeast NC, $14/hour for 40 hours per week
- There has been a 33 percent increase in the median wage over the last fifteen years, while basic living costs have risen 56.5 percent
- Meal costs are high: Over the last fifteen years, food costs have increased 35 percent
- Rents are high: 54.4 percent of households spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, higher than the average of 48.8 percent of renters.
- Childcare costs in northeast NC are among the highest in the nation: the average annual cost of care for an infant in a childcare center is $9,611—several thousand dollars more than a full-time college student would pay in annual tuition and fees at North Carolina State University, $6,4077
Hunger in Our Communities
Food Bank of the Albemarle has compiled data in an easy to view profile data sheet for each of the 15 counties we serve. Click the links below to download and learn even more about hunger in your community.
Download our 2016-FBA By the Numbers data sheet for a summary of Food Bank of the Albemarle statistics.
- Childhood Hunger: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-hunger/child-hunger-fact-sheet.html
- Senior Hunger: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/senior-hunger/senior-hunger-fact-sheet.html