This Thanksgiving, as many of us enjoy an abundance of food, some North Carolinians are struggling to put food on the table. North Carolina is one of the top 10 food-insecure states in the nation. With almost 14% of North Carolinians experiencing food insecurity (significantly higher than the national average of 11.1%), and more than 5% of North Carolinians experiencing very low food security, far too many North Carolinians are missing meals or going hungry altogether. This crisis threatens the physical and economic wellbeing of families across North Carolina.

Food insecurity is a symptom of the broader economic challenges families in our state face when trying to make ends meet, like a lack of access to affordable health care, and rising housing and childcare costs that are far outpacing wage growth.

Going without food often has devastating long-term consequences that can perpetuate inter-generational cycles of poverty. Missing meals makes it harder for children to learn and grow, robbing them of future economic opportunities. Sustained food insecurity contributes to both obesity and chronic disease, creating a host of health problems that undermine families’ economic stability. Given the host of physical, mental, and financial hardships that arise from regularly not having enough to eat, the prevalence of food insecurity in North Carolina cannot be tolerated.