Doing Whatever it Takes

The Western North Carolina Report of Hunger in America 2014 provides a snapshot of the people in our region struggling with hunger. With 80 percent of the households that sought food assistance surviving on $20,000 or less a year, and 60 percent living on $10,000 or less a year, it comes as little surprise that spending trade-offs and coping strategies must be employed regularly in order for families to survive.

Lauren, a food bank client in Buncombe County, is married and a mother of two young sons. “They eat like horses,” she says. “We usually do okay in the beginning of the month, and we try to make the food last that we are able to get at the pantry and with our food stamps. I tell my boys, ‘We can’t eat this all in one night!’ It’s hard because I know they are growing, and I want them to be satisfied, but I also know what happens. We usually end up with nothing in the cupboards but chicken noodle soup. After about the third night in a row of watered down chicken noodle soup, the boys are like, ‘Mom! Not again!’ But I tell them that a lot of families don’t even have this. A lot of families have nothing.”

Many of our clients have stories like Lauren’s, a story of stretching dollars and food as far as they can possibly go. According to HIA 2014, the most common coping strategy is buying the cheapest food available, regardless of health. Buying food in dented or damaged packages and eating expired food are also common, and many report watering down food or drinks to make them last longer.

When you support MANNA, you are supporting the effort to get enough food for the people facing hunger to put on the table. You are also helping to fund our FNS Outreach and Food Helpline, programs that help stretch a food budget a little further. Many of our clients are often forced to buy the cheapest food available but thanks to your support, many were able to enjoy fresh produce, too. MANNA distributed over 3 million pounds of fresh produce last year, and we will continue to work to get the kinds of food that support healthy lifestyles and healthy families.