North Carolina Food Banks Seeing Stark Increase in Need

North Carolina Food Banks Seeing Stark Increase in Need

Food banks across the state of North Carolina announced today that they are seeing a drastic increase in need for food and resources from neighbors experiencing hunger following the February 2023 end to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments.

In the 16 counties of Western North Carolina, MANNA FoodBank saw an increase of more than 10,000 people in first quarter of 2023 compared to the last quarter of 2022, a trend that is anticipated to continue as benefits expire and inflation continues to cause financial strain.

“We are now serving over 133,000 people on average each month,” said Dr. Claire Neal, Chief Executive Officer for MANNA FoodBank. “This is more than double the number of people we were serving prior to the pandemic, and is reflective of the ongoing cost of living crisis that thousands of households across our region are facing. These troubling trends underscore even further what we continue to hear from thousands of families every month: even working full time, their income isn’t meeting their most basic needs.”

With food bank funding still in negotiation as part of the General Assembly’s budget process as well as proposed cuts to federal nutrition programs in the United States congress, food banks across the state of North Carolina are shoring up resources to continue serving the community.

“The North Carolina food banks are incredibly thankful for support entrusted in us to do the work of hunger relief in our state, and work as good and efficient stewards of the resources we receive,” said Mike Darrow, Executive Director of Feeding the Carolinas. “The increased need for food and programming that we’re seeing currently and planning for do require additional resources and action on the part of our federal, state, and local leaders to help shape policies that support North Carolinians experiencing hunger.”

Food banks continue the work to implement new programs and find strategic, efficient ways to meet the increased need while building solutions for ending hunger at its root causes. The MANNA Network is focused on addressing hunger today and into the future:

Food for Today: MANNA FoodBank and the 240+ nonprofit partners serving WNC continue to address the daily emergency food needs for thousands of households with regular, free food distributions and community markets. MANNA continues to purchase more food than ever in the organization’s history to meet the current levels of need, prioritizing nutritious food at every turn. Locate food in your area.

Food for Tomorrow: The MANNA Food Helpline aids in connecting residents with emergency food resources, as well as screening for SNAP eligibility and supporting households through the application process. Call 1-800-820-1109 or schedule an appointment with a Helpline team member.

Food for a Lifetime: MANNA is a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public and policy makers about issues affecting those facing food insecurity. In this case, strengthening the programs that we know are effective in building food security, and supporting strong local food systems across the WNC region. Learn more about our advocacy efforts.