As the nights grow longer and the days turn colder, it is of the utmost importance that we remember those who lack the resources necessary to get through the winter. Throughout Western North Carolina, one in six adults and one in four children are considered food insecure, [according to the nonprofit] Community Table, 2018. According to Merriam-Webster, food insecurity is defined as being “unable to consistently access or afford adequate food” (food insecure).
In Jackson County where I reside, 59% of students receive free or reduced-price school lunches (Community Table, 2018). These students face the very real possibility of not having food as schools close for their winter breaks. Coupled with online schooling due to COVID-19, many students and families are struggling to feed themselves without community assistance.
As we enter this time of celebration and giving, I ask that we give help to those in our communities who are struggling. Many churches and school organizations across Western North Carolina host food, supply and toy drives during this time of year. While these resources are needed all year long, this time of year is especially important to those who have little or nothing to celebrate with during the holiday season.
For those of us with the resources to provide for our families, it is time to reach out to those who do not. Participate in food drives. Donate to shelters and charities in the area. Stores such as Walmart sell small but warm blankets for as little as $2.50. These small acts of compassionate giving can make a world of difference to those in need this holiday season.
Please reach out to your local shelters and charities and see what you can do for your community. Much love and God bless during the holidays.
— Jessica Martin