The State of Hunger in Northeast North Carolina
Hunger is an issue that affects millions of Americans every day. At times, it can seem like a distant problem, happening only in faraway countries or in urban areas with large homeless populations. But that is not the reality. The reality is that 41 million people are food insecure in our country, including 16.5 percent of people living in North Carolina. It is higher right here in northeast North Carolina where 15.4 percent of the population lives with Food Insecurity. That means 52,900 people in northeast North Carolina towns and neighborhoods do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life. For children, the number is even higher: 22 percent of children face hunger right here in Bertie, Beaufort, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington —that is one in three children.
Each of those 52,900 is worried about having enough to eat. It might be the clerk who bags your groceries or the father down the street whose company cut his pay. Perhaps it is your elderly neighbor whose fixed income doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the cost of her medications or the child in your daughter’s class who has trouble paying attention to the lessons. Our clients are children, families, veterans, students, senior citizens, single parents, the unemployed and underemployed—hunger can affect anyone.
At the Food Bank of the Albemarle, we believe the prevalence of hunger in our community is unacceptable. We have the expertise to fight food insecurity in northeast North Carolina, but we cannot do it alone. It is only through sophisticated and innovative partnerships that we can solve these problems and continue to serve the hungry families that rely on our services every day. When all children have enough nutritious food to grow and learn and when everyone has access to the food they need to stay healthy, will we ensure a stronger future for North Carolina. By working together will we make that possible.
The Food Bank of the Albemarle is proud to be a member of the nationwide Feeding America network of 200 food banks leading the fight against hunger in the United States. Likewise, we are members of a statewide association of Feeding America Food Banks collaborating on initiatives that address hunger in all 100 counties in North Carolina.
- 17 percent of the population or 52,900 people are food insecure
- 22 percent of children or 13,900 children are food insecure
- 57 percent of children are enrolled in free and reduced meal programs at school
- 73 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for utilities and buying food each month
- 65 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for transportation and buying food each month
- 43 percent of our client households have a household member who had worked for pay in the last 12 months
- 61 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for housing and buying food each month
- 31 percent of our client households have to choose between paying for education expenses like student loans, tuition or books, and buying food each month
It’s hard to make ends meet in northeast North Carolina:
- In 2015, the self-sufficiency wage for a single parent household (one adult, one preschooler and one school-aged child) is $4,741 per month ($27.35/hour for 40 hours per week)—the median wage in northeast NC, $14/hour for 40 hours per week
- There has been a 33 percent increase in the median wage over the last fifteen years, while basic living costs have risen 56.5 percent
- Meal costs are high: Over the last fifteen years, food costs have increased 35 percent
- Rents are high: 54.4 percent of households spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, higher than the average of 48.8 percent of renters.
- Childcare costs in northeast NC are among the highest in the nation: the average annual cost of care for an infant in a childcare center is $9,611—several thousand dollars more than a full-time college student would pay in annual tuition and fees at North Carolina State University, $6,4077