“I started bringing excess API food in to share with my co-workers at Sonic.”
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $9 million to MANNA FoodBank, the biggest gift in the nonprofit’s history. It comes not a moment too soon, as the organization faces a sudden rise in food insecurity and a facility pushed to its limits.
Organizations providing food assistance to North Carolinians experience higher demand as unemployment increases.
“For those of us with the resources to provide for our families, it is time to reach out to those who do not.”
While the community’s need continues to grow, the nonprofit’s pool of volunteers has declined.
Faith-based organizations in WNC have historically worked to alleviate the daunting problem of hunger, pooling resources, collecting food and volunteering at nonprofits.
“Sourcing more of our food locally would simultaneously boost the region’s economic stability, food security and health.”
According to Feeding America, 20 percent of the more than 46 million people who access the organization’s national network of food banks each year are part of households that include someone who’s served or is serving in the U.S. military.
A host of factors, including poverty, job loss, lack of transportation, unaffordable housing and chronic health issues, contribute to creating barriers to food access. But the vague mental images painted by these scenarios do not necessarily put an accurate face on WNC’s sprawling and complicated food insecurity problem.
“The only way we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health is to work together with a shared and well-coordinated commitment to improving our community’s health.”
Looking back on 2017, Xpress highlights some of the hundreds of stories we covered in our print editions and online over the year.
“It seems to me that the main reason why people are food insecure is that they just do not have enough money, especially since food prices keep increasing. If the food is ‘available’ and they can’t afford to buy it, it won’t help them.”
“Naming the history of a problem in our black community does not discount the experiences of our rural white communities. It’s not an either-or argument. It’s an “and” discussion. And white, rural communities suffer from food insecurity, too.”
In the 1970s, changes caused by urban renewal efforts stripped the historically black Southside community of its thriving network of corner stores and markets. Today the neighborhood fights its food insecurity issues with community gardens and donation-based dinners as it faces gentrification.
“I have appreciated the paper’s efforts to go into more depth about the conditions that face all the communities within our community, whether that be education, transportation, housing, employment, sprawl and now food access.”
Food access can be a huge challenge for families in WNC’s hard-to-reach rural areas — especially during summer break when children are not receiving school lunch assistance.
Charitable organizations, food pantries and community gardens are working hard to combat hunger in WNC. And at the heart of those efforts, are hundreds of committed volunteers.
“Currently in its fourth year, the Summer Food Service Program grew in response to the risk of summer food insecurity experienced by children who are on the free and reduced meal program during the school year. “
U Grow, a partnership between Bounty & Soul and Eat Smart Black Mountain, offers a hand-to-mouth approach to food security by encouraging families and individuals to grow their own food.
From the Get It! Guide: According to MANNA FoodBank’s 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, food insecurity affects 15.3 percent of Western North Carolina. But several local efforts are looking to stop hunger in WNC, bringing the battle to the fields, the pantries, the neighborhoods and even city hall.