Almost 272,000 people in the seven-county area we serve don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Some have lost their jobs. Some hold two jobs. Yet, on minimum wage, they still can’t afford to feed their families. 1.7 million people in North Carolina in 2011 were living on incomes below the federal poverty level of $23,021 for a family of four.
At the same time, up to 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten and winds up rotting in the landfill. Our food recovery and distribution programs save healthy food from being thrown away and reroute it to people in need.
Mobile Markets and Agency Distribution
In 2014, we collected over 6.5 million pounds of healthy perishable food in refrigerated trucks from over 350 food donors. Within days (or even hours) of collecting food, we distribute to people in need, primarily by bringing our Mobile Markets right to where they live. We put a particular focus on fresh, nutritious food—fresh veggies, fruits, milk and eggs—relying on food donated from the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market and gleaned from area farms. Over 40% of what we distribute is fresh produce!
Cooking and Freezing Food
Our commercial kitchen and culinary training program allow us to stabilize large amounts of produce by cooking and freezing, which we then distribute as nutritious prepared meals to programs, agencies, soup kitchens, and shelters that feed the hungry.
In North Carolina, 1-in-4 children is at risk of hunger, and in our service area, over 118,000 low-income children applied to receive free and reduced-price lunch through our public schools during the 2014-2015 school year. Our Children’s Hunger Relief Programs offer solutions for meeting their nutritional needs in and out of school, so children are well-nourished and ready to learn.
Nearly 15,000 senior citizens over the age of 65 are at risk of hunger in our 7 county service area. Food hardship for seniors can be compounded by lack of transportation to purchase groceries, so we bring healthy groceries to them through our Grocery Bags for Seniors program.