• 57°

Help secure food

For a significant portion of the population, food is not a concern. Our refrigerators are full or can be stocked with a visit to a local supermarket. Hunger is not a fear for roughly 80 percent of eastern North Carolina.

But nearly one in five of our neighbors and friends are currently subject to food insecurity — the uncertainty of not knowing where they will find the next meal for themselves or their families.

New research released by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, found that over 61,000 people — 19.9 percent of the population of northeast North Carolina — are classified as food insecure. That is an increase of 2.7 percent over 2011, or roughly 3,500 people.

The percentage is even higher when it comes to children. One in four in Beaufort County is classified as food insecure.

“Hunger is the reality that too many of our neighbors in northeast North Carolina continue to face,” Liz Reasoner, Food Bank of the Albemarle executive director, said in a news release. “Hunger is enough of a problem in and of itself, but the additional issues that come with hunger — children who can’t concentrate at school, an undernourished workforce and people choosing between food and medicine — leave a broad footprint on our communities, particularly when we realize the true cost of not providing adequate food. Food insecurity does have a long-term impact on a person’s health. We cannot create healthy productive communities without first feeding the body.”

Food insecurity is a concern that does not go away after the holidays. Organizations like Eagle’s Wings and the Food Bank of the Albemarle work tirelessly to help families in need. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things have helped keep food on the table for thousands of our residents.

In this land of plenty, won’t you do your part to help others? Donate to or volunteer at your local food bank. Every little bit helps.