Climbing Off the List

July 14, 2019

Note:  The opinions expressed in this, and other postings, about the issues being addressed by The Partnership for Prosperity are those of the author and should not be attributed to any other organization or person, unless so noted.  The facts cited in these postings are based on personal experience or are from websites, newspapers, or other publications that the author has determined are credible sources. 

 

Within a one to five minute walk from our condo in Winston-Salem, a hungry person can find seven good places to eat.  It’s pretty hard to go hungry where we live.

But you have to be able to afford to eat in a restaurant.

That leaves out about 1,503,050 people in North Carolina, who, if you assume that those who are “struggling with hunger,” as the website “Feeding America” claims they are, probably don’t count on restaurants to feed them.  That’s one in seven people in the state and one in five children who don’t get enough to eat.

In 2011, the Winston-Salem Journal, citing a study by the Food Research and Action Center and based on a survey by Gallup, determined that our city ranked as the worst metro area in the entire nation in “families with children that had a hard time putting food on the table.”

By 2016-17, we ranked seventh.

So it’s not as if “food insecurity” in Winston-Salem is being ignored.   (I really don’t know why they dropped just calling it “hunger.”  We’re all insecure about something.  I wish I was six foot, two and could dance.   I guess “food insecurity” is a more acceptable term in a nation that throws away 43 billion pounds of food every years.  “Insecurity” sounds like a treatable condition.  But I digress.)  There are at least 21 food service organizations and God knows how many churches and schools fighting hunger in Winston-Salem.  If you want to count them yourself, you can find most of them listed on the “Love Out Loud” website.

And then there’s the latest city government/private sector initiative: “Think Orange,” which secured a $115,000 grant under a program of the National League of Cities and the Food Research and Action Center to accelerate the fight against hunger here.  There are nine major projects that are being undertaken, from expanding the participation in the summer feeding programs, to an after-school hot meals program, to getting corporate leadership involved, to raising community awareness of hunger and food insecurity.

And that’s just the beginning of what could be the most determined effort to eradicate hunger in Winston-Salem.   This Wednesday, July 17th, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., The Partnership for Prosperity will hold a work session and forum on Food Access and Poverty Alleviation at the Forsyth County Cooperative extension; 1450 Fairchild Rd., in Winston-Salem, in Auditorium B.   Those who come will address up to 16 different ways to approach eradicating hunger and set priorities for public and private initiatives.

The point is there is still too much hunger in Winston-Salem and it will take a city-wide community effort to do something about it beyond what is already a strong and resolute effort.  Seventh on the list is an improvement, but the goal is to get off the list.

Whatever is finally decided, it must be underpinned by embracing the belief that no one should go hungry in a nation that throws away 43 billion pounds of food a year.

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