We’ve all heard the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it’s true –nutritious food is good medicine. Food is one of our most basic needs. Along with oxygen, water, and shelter, it is necessary for human survival. In a nation as affluent as the United
States, no child should go hungry. Yet everyday hunger disrupts the lives of 1 in 5 children in North Carolina.
Hunger is a problem hiding “in plain sight” in North Carolina. Whether it involves skipping meals, eating less than is needed to live a healthy life, or making do with foods that are
filling but not nutritious, hunger’s effects can be devastating, especially among our more vulnerable citizens, including children and older adults.
In May 2009, Feeding America released the results of its first analysis of food insecurity in early childhood, “Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2005 – 2007.” North Carolina ranked second worst in the nation with 24.1 percent of its children under 5 judged to be food insecure and lacking regular access to nutritional food. The state was 10th worst in the same Feeding America study of food insecurity in children 0-18 years old. Both studies used
figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nationally, the food insecurity average is 17 percent for children under 5.
To combat hunger the NC 4-H Youth Development program and the Food Banks of North Carolina, all of which are affiliates of Feeding AmericaTM our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, have teamed up to promote awareness of hunger in North Carolina and to make an impact in local
entitled “Hungry to Help.”
According to Dr. Marshall Stewart, State 4-H Leader, the “Hungry to Help” initiative will officially kickoff during 4-H Congress in July 2010. Exciting plans are underway to prepare 4-H’ers, 4-H volunteers and alumni to host a
variety of hunger awareness programs in their local communities and to prepare participants to be citizen
leaders for hunger relief.
4-H recognizes that knowledge and understanding are powerful tools in the battle to end hunger, and that food insecurity undermines our nation’s investments in education and health care. In North Carolina 4-H we believe
that together we can make a difference! Additional information on the “Hungry to Help” initiative will be released on the N.C. 4-H website at http://www.nc4h.org in the coming months.
For more information, contact Dr. Mitzi Downing, Extension Assistant Professor and Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.515.8487.