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Hunger Stories


One in five North Carolina households are food insecure, which is defined by the USDA as lacking consistent, dependable access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle due to a lack of resources. (Learn more hunger terms on our advocacy page.)

These homes “face difficult tradeoffs between food and other essential needs such as child care, rent, and utilities,” writes NC Policy Watch.

Beyond the numbers:

These are families needing temporary emergency relief, as well as  the working poor still living below the poverty line and struggling to put food on the table.  They are people living in food deserts where there is little access to fresh, healthy food.

Hunger doesn’t always fit our stereotypes. These true stories represent the faces of hunger in the Triangle.  They come in all shapes, all ages, and from all walks of life.

WATCH this WRAL Documentary “Hungry for Answers” to learn more about what hunger looks like in our local community.

In their own words

“I’m unemployed, and my husband is in printing sales, which you may have heard have dropped significantly.  His salary has dropped about 60% and we’re having trouble paying bills and feeding our children.  Everyday my daughter goes to school with no lunch.  We don’t qualify for food stamps, or didn’t in June.  We may now, but the process is so long and embarrassing.  It’s not a lot of fun to go through the paperwork only to find you don’t qualify.  Recently we had to pull out money from our retirement (my husband is 61) to pay our mortgage because the company was threatening to foreclose.  It’s really not fun in our house anymore. Can you help us?” –Request for assistance to Elizabeth Keyes Rodgers – IFFS Outreach Coordinator

“A significant trend in our partner food pantries is the growth in ones serving military communities and college campuses. Not surprisingly many of the client households had someone experiencing health problems. About 65 percent had a household member with high blood pressure; 37 percent someone with diabetes. It is notable that both of these conditions are commonly associated with poor nutrition. Sometimes it is easy to see a hungry person as a stereotype: homeless, jobless, an alcoholic or drug addict. What is not as easy to see is that a real person in need may be right under your nose. The family of someone at your child’s school. The person laid off last month at your office. The person waiting in line at the gas station or even the grocery store. Some have attended college. Many client households include an employed person. A truer stereotype of a hungry person would be a single mother of two, working two jobs and still not able to provide sufficient food.” — News & Observer’s Alan Briggs

“Toward the end of the year, a third grade student mentioned to her teacher that she was hungry because she and her brother and her mother had to share one apple for breakfast that morning, and they were hungry – they were out of food.” — BackPack Buddies School Coordinator

Lincoln Heights Mobile Market - Cary News“Food is really expensive. This helps out a lot,” Stone said. “I think it’s a great program.  It’s a way to make sure that kids are eating healthy.”  Stone said she lost her job as a manager at a barbecue restaurant in December.  She’s collecting unemployment benefits and also receives food assistance, but fruits and vegetables aren’t cheap.  Stone said she is forced to limit the variety of fresh produce in her home. –Aiesha Stone, Fuquay-Varina mother of two who access the IFFS-Kraft Family YMCA Mobile Market in at Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay Varina. Read more in the Cary News: “Mobile Market Offers Fresh Produce.”

Kroger Story News Observer

“At least three times a week, Elizabeth Barber hikes the quarter mile from her senior-living apartment complex to the Kroger on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, stuffing the groceries she buys into the basket of her rolling walker. She’s 86 with a heart condition, and she leads a small parade of elderly friends for food and supplies: Dorothy Miller, 84, who walks with a cane, and Gloria Small, 78, who rides in a power chair.  All of them live on a fixed income.  None of them drives.  All of thdata:text/mce-internal,em love and depend on Kroger – the only pharmacy and fresh food seller within a mile.  In January, their favorite store shut its doors along with another on New Bern Avenue.  They were the only Kroger stores in Southeast Raleigh.” –Read more in the N&O here: “Kroger’s Closing Devastates a Raleigh Neighborhood”

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