Making a difference at home

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

36,000 meals. That’s the number of breakfasts and lunches served up by Beaufort County Schools and a team of 65 volunteers for local children this summer. At a total of 17 sites throughout the county, these meals served as healthy nourishment for young people who might otherwise go without.

The unthinkable question is, without those meals, what would those kids have to eat?

Food is something that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have it. Hunger remains a big problem in our society. From the national scale to the state level to our local landscape, countless Americans go hungry every day.

According to the nonprofit Feeding America, one in seven people in North Carolina struggle with hunger. For children, that number is one in five. Meanwhile, 2012 numbers from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality estimated that North Carolinians wasted approximately 247 pounds of food per person.

Somewhere in those figures, there’s a major disconnect. It can be measured in dollars, access to food, transportation and a host of other factors. It’s not a matter of simply working harder and “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.” Even for those working 40 hours per week in a minimum wage job, balancing the household budget can be difficult, and nutritious food can be a major expense.

Locally, groups like Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry and Martha’s Thrift Store and Food Pantry are doing their part to help bridge that disconnect. But they need your help.

Just as the BCS summer feeding program wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a team of volunteers, these organizations need donations and volunteers to accomplish their missions of feeding Beaufort County. It takes kindhearted people who care about others to make it happen.

As children go back to school, hopefully with full stomachs and everything they need to learn, remember that your generosity can continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Look for ways to help meet the needs in our community, all the while working to improve society as a whole, so that maybe one day, hunger will be a relic of the past.

If it sounds like a monumental task, it is. It may be a while yet before humanity can rally to solve the issue of world hunger, but there are ways we can make a difference, right here at home. The volunteers who fed Beaufort County children this summer, and the ones who will continue feeding them this fall, have already started.