Childhood hunger is rising in New Hanover County. As of May 2015, over 12,000 children in our local area qualify for free-or-reduced school lunch, which equates to 1 in 4 children in our County.
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
- Hungry kids end up in jail
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.