No time like the present

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seventeen percent of Beaufort County’s population, or 8,150 people, are designated as “food insecure,” according to the Southeastern University Consortium on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition.

Food insecurity is when a person does not have reliable access to healthful foods for an affordable price. Data reports show that more than 22 percent of children in Beaufort County live in food insecure households.

The data provided by the Consortium is based on numbers for 2015, which is the most recent data available.

This speaks to a problem in this rural, Tier 1 county called home. There are many people who simply do not have appropriate access to basic needs.

Aurora is considered a food desert, which is defined as an area with only limited access to reliable sources of healthful and affordable food. After Aurora’s only grocery store closed down, residents are left to drive more than 20 miles to the nearest one in Chocowinity. Even if grocery stores are present in a community, however, this does not mean all people can afford to buy food for their families.

Many have already seen this need in Beaufort County and taken the first steps to correct it. Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry provides meals to those who need it, as does the Food Bank of the Albemarle. Beaufort County Schools is also using federal money to provide free breakfast and lunch for 100 percent of students, if needed.

There is still much more to be done, however.

It is time for residents to step up and do their part to ease a struggle faced by hundreds of families every day.

Support Eagle’s Wings or the Food Bank by giving food donations. Volunteer at the Zion Shelter and Kitchen, or participate in a church food drive. Support organizations that give back to those in need, such as Martha’s Project in Belhaven.

A lot of factors may be out of one’s control, but there is always something — even something small — that can be done.