“After multiple risk factors are considered, children who live in households that are food insecure, even at the lowest levels, are likely to be sick more often, recover from illness more slowly, and be hospitlized more frequently. Lack of adequate healthy food can impair a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school and is linked to higher levels of behaviorial and emotional problems from preschool through adolescence. Food insecurity can affect children in any community, not only tradtionally underserved ones.”
– American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015
Food Insecurity: The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 1 in 4 children in our community are food insecure (UNC School of Govt).
Hunger: Refers to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation (USDA).
Food Deserts: Food deserts are geographic areas with a high concentration of poverty where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent. (Food Empowerment Project). There are 7 food deserts in our area. In Wilmington alone, 16,000 people live in food deserts. Go here for an interactive map and food desert locater.
McKinney-Vento: The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes: children and youth who are living in: hotels, motels, campgrounds, parks, public spaces, cars, substandard housing, emergency or transitional shelters and those awaiting foster placement (OSPI). There are more than 700 Homeless Children in New Hanover County (NHCS). These children are targeted for enrollment on our program.
That’s the reality of our situation.
This cuts across all color lines. Every school in the county is affected. The problem is real. The problem is immediate. There are kids, thousands of them, in our county that are going hungry right now.
Food Insecurity Leads to a Range of Problems Including…
- Higher number of chronic health conditions
- Higher hospitalization rates
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Behavioral problems
- Lower physical functioning
- Higher rates of depressive disorder and suicidal symptoms in adolescents
- Lower math and reading achievements
When a child experiences food insecurity, they go through periods where there’s not enough to eat and where they can’t reliably predict where their next meal is coming from. Over time, we see a negative spiral of events that often ends in disaster.
We have to ask ourselves, do we really want to put 25% of our county’s children on a downward slope?
Our answer is clear, and we believe the community’s answer is clear.
NO. We WILL NOT let children go hungry. Not here. Not when we can take steps to fix the situation. Child hunger is our problem as a community. But, as a community, we are also the solution. To do this, it takes more than us. We need you too.