Hunger is spiking in NC during the pandemic

Close to a 40% increase over 2019 numbers:

Nearly 80% of North Carolinians are at least considering sharing a meal with someone outside their household on Thanksgiving or winter holiday, and nearly 18% reported having too little food on at least one day in the previous week, according to preliminary results from an online survey conducted Nov. 17-22.

The US Department of Agriculture reported 13.1% of North Carolina households from 2017-2019 did not have enough food, relied on food banks or food stamps, or used other strategies to eat.

Bolding mine, just to highlight where I got that 40%. This is bad news on both fronts. Apparently people aren't taking the warnings about Thanksgiving seriously enough, and we can expect a (possibly huge) spike in Coronavirus cases in early December. But I'm sure some of those folks are also part of the 18% who are food insecure, and congregating may be the only way they can have a meal tomorrow. Or the day after. Here's some analysis from the NCCU survey folks:

N.C. Central University researchers sponsored the survey on COVID-19 and its effects on households. Researchers found increased food insecurity and lower household incomes.

“This suggests food insecurity is higher than it has been,” Christopher Paul, NCCU assistant professor of public administration and principal investigator on the food insecurity research project, said in an interview. “In this initial analysis, it’s at some of its highest levels in recent history.”

Thirty-two percent of respondents to NCCU’s survey reported losing income, and 38% said that if they got sick, it was unlikely they could count on neighbors to shop for them.

It’s not known whether the 77.4% who said they were at least considering dining with people outside the household over the holidays planned to do so indoors or outdoors, Paul said. Nearly 40% answered “yes” to the question.

I can answer that question: It's downright chilly outside right now, and it won't be much warmer tomorrow. They will be indoors, packed like sardines. Sardines not wearing masks, in most cases.

Here's more on the problem from NC's Food Bank headquarters in Raleigh:

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt throughout our service area, in communities large and small. According to Feeding America, estimates of the impact of COVID-19 are projecting increased food insecurity in line with the Great Recession. People have lost jobs and healthcare, children have been home for months – in many cases without access to school meals. Families who couldn’t afford to miss one paycheck or even one shift at work are being forced to make impossible choices between paying for rent or putting food on the table.

Prior to COVID-19, our data from Feeding America showed approximately 545,000 people in our 34-county service area were facing hunger, 180,000 of those being children. The projected number of food-insecure people in our 34 counties is now more than 756,000 neighbors, with 253,000 being children. That’s approximately a 38% increase.

Well, it looks like my stats are holding up. Yay. You can donate to the Food Bank right here, and they definitely need it.

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