We hope this letter finds you and yours healthy and doing well. These are highly unusual times for all of us as we navigate the current landscape and challenges that so many are facing. Therefore, we wanted to take a moment to remind you what a positive force that you are in the lives of so many of our neighbors in need across WNC.
The current trends that we are seeing in the state of hunger across our beautiful region are very telling. We are still not anywhere near the pre-pandemic number of people who are finding themselves in great need of our support for food for themselves and their loved ones. As of the end of August, we are still serving nearly 30% more people than we were pre-pandemic when food insecurity across our region was already very high.
Disturbingly, the key drivers behind the high food insecurity rates across WNC have worsened by the economic challenges created by the pandemic. At the center is the fact that the cost of living in the greater Asheville area is higher than both nation and statewide averages while our median income is well below state and nationwide averages. This ever-widening gap makes it impossible for countless working poor families, seniors, women and people in marginalized communities to make ends meet.
Thankfully, because of you, and all of our incredible supporters, we are heartened to share that we have made it through these tumultuous times together and have not missed a single day of getting food to those who need it most.
Through the collective efforts of people like you and all of our donors, volunteers and partners, we are reminded continuously that together, the strength of the human spirit can do what might once be thought impossible.
While we are still facing much uncertainty in the coming months, what we do know is that together, MANNA will continue to show up for all who need us across WNC. Thank you for all of the good that you bring to our neighbors in need and to this world.