Hunger study: Asheville 7th worst metro area in country

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


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16 thoughts on “Hunger study: Asheville 7th worst metro area in country

  1. betterworld

    Thank you Mr Forbes (you interviewed me once) for this article. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for bringing up the fact that RIGHT in here in the land of “the cool” and “the christian” we just let people die in the streets. If we were so cool we’d rather eat ramen noodles that letting other human beings starve. Sorry for being so blunt, and sorry if the cool thing is going to rub on many. Sooooooooooo sorry

  2. betterworld

    PS For all that submitted a comment on “Call abortion what it is: murder
    by Diana Ronald-Szabo”
    This should be called “Call starvation what it is”MURDER”

    How long are we going to continue let others starve in this community?

  3. bill smith

    @betterworld–Why would we need to eat Ramen brand noodles to ensure other people don’t go hungry? There is plenty of food, the problem is access.

  4. Hend Resident

    I think it is interesting that people have enough money to where Asheville is the beer capitol of the US but no one can afford food. hmmm… I am not saying there is not a grocery problem, because I know there is but it seems a lot must have their priorities off.
    As far as Christians doing something about it. There are a lot trying to do something. All but 1 or 2 of the local food pantries I know of are run by churches. And I work in/with some of them on a regular basis. My experience has been that most have too much pride to come get the free/reduced food.

  5. LamontCranston

    I wonder if our 11th District political representative is paying attention to this very sad fact?? Maybe instead of Co-Sponsoring the Bill known as H.R.3, he should be working on getting us the jobs to be able to put food on our tables for our children, and voting for a Health Care program that ensures that all will be able to be healthy enough to work those jobs, and eat the fruits of their labor.

    Nah…That would take to much work, and what is known as “good leadership’.

  6. Since we can’t post picture to this part of the site, please read the rest of this thread with the image of Michael Jackson at the beginning of Thriller happily munching on his popcorn.

    That is all.

    (I lied – what about Paula Deen’s HAMS?!)

  7. betterworld

    @ BIllSmith Really? There is plenty of food? Well maybe you should start distributing it to all the Loal Agencies. I am a Social Worker. Bill, Agencies as everyone else are running out of food. Even churches. Truly, I encourage you to talk to these agencies and tell them how to acces these goods. The reason I eat ramen noodles is because it is 6 for a dollar. that leaves me with extra cash to serve my families. Yes, they are trash, non organic, additives and preservatives added……… but you do what you have to do. Amnd just so I can acces this goods, can you please tell me where they are?

  8. dpewen

    This is a christian area? Really? I don’t think so.
    As far as the food issue goes I am very surprised … I would like to see how they determined this number.
    I am glad we have plenty of beer though … and great music.
    Manna does a great job getting food to people but I know they have been having difficulty getting supplies.

  9. Bjorn

    Ironically there’s always endless money for continuing Bush’s needless wars. 12 billion a month could be used to improve lives instead of ending them!

  10. betterworld

    dpewen Billy Graham Hwy Billy graham institute…have u seen all the Christian retreat homes in Montreat?? Asheville itself maybe “progressive” but to say this is not a Christian area…. We do have great beer and music, no doubt about that. and great outdoors stuff, but to ignore there is hunger… don’t you really see it?? To not go that far, take a little drive all around Swannanoa. And I don’t mean the affluent Swannanoa Grovemont. The Appalachian culture is the MOST empoverished culture in the country. THE MOST.
    Go to Manna food’s website, but for starters:
    106,600 different people in Western North Carolina seek food assistance in a single year from emergency food programs
    That’s 1 in 6 of our WNC neighbors
    33,000 are children
    9,600 are elderly
    Of all the households served by MANNA’s partner agencies, 75% face hunger. Of those households with children, 84% face hunger.
    Only 45% of the client households served by MANNA FoodBank receive Food and Nutrition Services benefits (formerly known as food stamps). It is likely that many more are eligible.
    Western North Carolinians seeking emergency food assistance often face tough choices between paying for food or other essentials such as fuel, housing, and healthcare.
    36% of households seeking emergency food assistance do have at least one employed adult. Working people in Western North Carolina are struggling to make ends meet and while employed, many are underemployed, part time, or seasonal.

    Yes Manna has been having difficulties because as I mentioned before, everybody is running out of funds. Individuals, churches and agencies.

    It’s 12:05…I guess we can go have a good local beer now.

  11. bill smith


    As for ‘where the food is’, grocery stores and restaurants still routinely throw out quite a bit of food, every day. There is no shortage. The issue is ACCESS to the food, not the food itself. You don’t need to starve yourself to feed others. Visit farms. Network with local grocers. Scarcity of food in the US is a myth. I have a hard time taking any claims otherwise seriously.

  12. Stan Brocklin

    Asheville a “metro are”? LOL, northern transplants fancy to turn this wonderful little Southern TOWN into a metro urban area? Only in Cecil’s mind…and his fellow travelers of course. Sorry boys, if you want metro, head back up to Philadelphia or Chicago. This aint it.

  13. firelady

    A few points:

    1. Asheville is considered a metropolitan statistical area in government databases. This status is determined by population size.

    2. Emergency food demand has increased substantially across the nation during this recession. Two particular groups have been responsible for this increase: working, middle class families and the elderly.

    3. Both groups have had difficulty accessing FNS benefits, typically due to assets or fluctuating income that puts them above the fairly low qualifying threshold.

  14. Stan, Asheville is the commercial center of a region the size of Massachusetts. If we were a state, it would be the capitol city. There’s no turning the town into something it isn’t. Your little world has changed.

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