Western North Carolina -- June 23, 2022: In Western North Carolina, our youngest residents are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. While one in six people in our region do not know where their next meal
will come from, the prevalence of food insecurity among children is substantially higher: One in four children in WNC are food insecure. The depressing statistic is not only alarming because of the immediate hunger faced by so many children, but also because of the long-term repercussions that can persist until adulthood.
Similar to adults, food insecurity affects children in our region due to the unique socioeconomic circumstances of our region. Greater Asheville has the highest cost of living in the state, and housing costs continue to rise throughout Western North Carolina. As a result, many families have left economic centers in search of more affordable accommodation. In these places, however, there is no suitable public transportation system that can carry individuals to and from areas with family-supporting employment prospects; therefore, these families must rely on private transportation. Families must contend with child care expenditures in addition to high living expenses and a lack of public transit, which sometimes forces them to make hard choices such as "should I put gas in my car or buy groceries this week?"
Similar to many other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), food insecurity can have a significant impact on a child's development. Chronic stress from not knowing if you will eat has the potential to disrupt brain development and the immune system of a developing adult. Children with food insecurity are also more likely to perform poorly in school, which may hinder them from attaining higher income levels after graduation. This is why we work relentlessly on a variety of solutions to ensure that everyone in WNC has access to food, especially children. Thankfully, there are a variety of successful strategies for combating childhood hunger.
Please check out Manna Food Bank for more information: