A study released this month by the Food Research and Action Center identified the Asheville metro area as the seventh worst in the country for food hardship.
In the Asheville metro area (consisting of Buncombe, Madison, Henderson and Haywood counties), 23.9 percent of the population struggled to feed themselves and their families at some point in 2010.
That information, paired with the results of a separate hunger survey done by FRAC and Tyson Foods as part of a charitable effort, led to a donation of 29,000 lbs. of boneless chicken to MANNA FoodBank yesterday, through a partnership with Ingles’ supermarkets. According to that survey, most people see hunger as a national, rather than local problem.
Asheville wasn’t the only North Carolina metro to make the hungry list, as the Winston-Salem and Greensboro/High Point areas came in third and fourth, respectively.
The data joins a set of dubious honors contrasting with Asheville often ranking in national (and even international lists) as a place to visit, start a business, retire or drink beer. The Asheville metro area is one of the worst for credit card debt and the poverty rate is also above state and national averages. Since the economic downturn began, Buncombe County’s expenditures on food assistance have tripled.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter