Feeding our seniors, now that the turkey is gone

Raleigh News and Observer, November 30, 2016

Many of us gathered last Thursday to give thanks and share a meal with our loved ones. We filled our plates and stomachs with foods that are near and dear to our families. We made memories with our family members, young and old. But at the end of the day, many of our grandparents and other older relatives went home to empty fridges and empty cupboards.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/chapel-hill-news/chn-opinion/article117498518.html#storylink=cpy

Flooding widespread in NC as death toll rises to 19


Surging rivers caused more misery across Eastern North Carolina, where the Hurricane Matthew death toll climbed to 19 in what Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday called a “surreal experience” of waters rising under sunny skies.

Major roads were still closed in places, and water rescues continued. There was progress on power restoration, as outages slowly declined by Wednesday afternoon to 110,000 from Sunday’s peak of 800,000.

The scale of the disaster was enormous and shifting, as waters rose in some areas and receded in others. Conditions will worsen along the banks of the Tar and Neuse rivers, which will crest in Eastern North Carolina towns in the next three days – almost a week since the hurricane pounded an already saturated state with more than a foot of rain.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/article107629012.html#storylink=cpy


Doctors ‘prescribe’ fresh produce with help from food banks

food-as-medicineBY CARLA K. JOHNSON   AP Medical Writer Sept. 25, 2016
The idea is simple: Load fresh fruits and vegetables into a refrigerator truck and drive it to a health clinic, then have a doctor write a “prescription” for food to improve the diets of low-income people with diabetes and high blood pressure.

U.S. food banks — the organizations on the front lines of fighting hunger — increasingly are promoting “food as medicine” strategies designed to address, not exacerbate, the high rate of chronic health problems among the poor.
One-third of households using food banks are feeding a family member with diabetes, and 58 percent have a family member with high blood pressure, according to a recent survey by Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks. Meanwhile, 55 percent of people identify fresh fruits and vegetables as the foods they most desire but aren’t receiving from their food pantry.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/article104079696.html#storylink=cpy


The Return of American Hunger

A man eats lunch at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, where hundreds of people receive food and supplies everyday, in Detroit, Michigan, December 9, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) - RTR25A82

A man eats lunch at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, where hundreds of people receive food and supplies everyday, in Detroit, Michigan, December 9, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) – RTR25A82














By a handful of indicators—unemployment rates, overall economic growth, even average hourly earnings—the U.S. economy isn’t doing so badly right now.

And yet, when it comes to the number of Americans who go hungry, it’s almost like the recovery never happened. Read more at:



Homegrown startup puts state’s small farmers in grocery freezer case

tgrubb@newsobserver.comSeal the seasons
Seal the Seasons CEO and co-founder Patrick Mateer will reap the rewards of hard work this summer when the company starts shipping pounds of North Carolina produce to three national grocery chains.

Mateer, 23, said the flash-frozen fruits and vegetables will reach about 325 stores this year with the addition of Lowes Foods and Whole Foods in July, and Harris Teeter in August. That’s up from 10 smaller and online grocers last year, including Weaver Street Market, he said.

Next year, they plan to donate 20 percent of their profits to support hunger-relief groups, Mateer said. He also has been thinking about direct food donations to nonprofit groups and food banks.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/chapel-hill-news/article86852432.html#storylink=cpy

NC Retail Merchants Donate $50,000 to Fight Summer Hunger

Briggs and Ellen 2016






Raleigh, N.C. (June 14, 2016) – The NC Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) (http://www.ncrma.org/) has presented a check for $50,000 to the NC Association of Feeding America Food Banks (NCAFAFB). This donation is made at a time of increased need, because for many children, summer equals hunger.
North Carolina ranks in the ten worst states in the percentage of children under 18 who are lacking food on a regular basis according to recent reports. That statistic seems even more critical when school is out for summer break. Children who rely on free and reduced breakfast and lunch across North Carolina will suffer because those meals are no longer available to them. NCRMA is proud to give this $50,000 donation to support hungry children at a time of year when some children need it most.

Harris Teeter Donates $116,633 to NC Food Banks

Harris Teeter announced an $$116,633 donation to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks. In partnership with four in-state collegiate rivals, Harris Teeter hosted the Million Meals Challenge campaign to help fight the North Carolina hunger epidemic.

The Million Meals Challenge – a banner initiative in collaboration with Harris Teeter and the NC Association of Feeding America Food Banks – focused on generating yearlong support from Duke, NC State, UNC and Wake Forest students, fans, alumni and campus communities. As part of this challenge, the company invited shoppers and associates to make a $1, $3 or $5 donation at checkout, collecting $$116,633 in the fight against hunger. See more at:


Five Lessons Learned After Living on Food Stamps for One Week

Guest Blog Post By Matt Ferraguto

SNAP Challenge-2

In 2014, 47 million Americans received benefits through the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). On average, these Americans receive $4.40 per person per day to purchase food.

This month, our Leadership NC class was encouraged to attempt the SNAP Challenge, which involves attempting to live on the same food budget as the average SNAP beneficiary for one week.

Here are five lessons my family learned from my experience, after my wife and I and our two children (4 and 6 years old) completed the challenge.

  1. It’s difficult not to feel like a tourist. While the cause behind the challenge is noble, I couldn’t help but feel as though we were making light of the actual struggles that millions of families face. That’s in part because I knew at any point I could “cheat” if I wanted to or had to. Still, the experience was meaningful for us and our kids.
  1. Having a family makes stretching your food budget a little easier. It was plenty difficult purchasing enough food for the week on our budget of $123.20 (4 people x $4.40/person/day x 7 days) You can see the results of our primary trip to the grocery store in the header image. But I can’t imagine trying to feed one person for a week with only $30.80 ($4.40/person/day x 7 days). Having a family of four enabled us to buy a larger variety of food and meant we did not have to make as many individual meals last multiple days.
  1. Giving up food “luxuries” is hard. At the beginning of the week, I didn’t have enough money for both coffee and Diet Coke, so I chose morning coffee and gave up Diet Cokes (my one true addiction) for the week. And I had to forego any office snacks (which are plentiful) during the day as well, so we were all more noticeably hungry by the time we got home at night.
  1. It must be very difficult as a parent to explain food limitations to your child. I had a hard enough time convincing my children that they had to choose between the two generic cereals we’d purchased (they’re used to a selection of at least five or six kinds of brand-name cereals). I can only imagine how painful it must be to explain to a child that we simply can’t afford enough food for that day.
  1. No matter how well you plan, it’s easy to run out of food and money. After the first grocery run, we left ourselves with a cushion of $49 for the week, thinking that was plenty to cover any additional food we needed. It wasn’t — we ran out of money (and bread and cereal) on day 6. It turns out that’s the reality many families living on SNAP assistance face. In fact, a recent study found that hospitalizations spike at the end of the month, when families may have exhausted their budget.

As you may know, North Carolina has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the nation, and that problem is even worse among children. In fact, 1 in 4 children (26.1%) in our state struggle with hunger on a regular basis.

The good news is that individuals can make a difference. North Carolina has seven Feeding America Food Banks, which are the backbone of our state’s hunger relief efforts, supporting thousands of shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, and schools.

Interested in fighting hunger in your community? Find the food bank closest to you and volunteer or make a financial contribution.


Matt Ferraguto is the Client Services Director at Eckel & Vaughan, a strategic communications agency based in Raleigh. He is also a member of Leadership NC’s Class XXIII.


Food stamps will soon require 20 hours of work or classes in NC

Food stamp recipients in North Carolina soon will lose benefits unless they prove they’re working, volunteering or taking classes for at least 20 hours a week.

That federal requirement – which applies to adults under 50 who don’t have children – was suspended in 2008 as the recession hit and unemployment rates rose. But the exemption ended Jan. 1 for 23 mostly urban counties across the state, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg.

While the 77 other counties are seeing a slower economic recovery and could continue the federal exemption, the state legislature acted last year to restore the work and education requirement statewide starting July 1.

The change affects 115,000 North Carolinians who will have to document work, volunteer or education activities or lose their food stamp benefits. Recipients can still get up to three months of benefits without meeting the requirement.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article53894400.html#storylink=cpy



5 Thoughts From Pope Francis on Feeding the World

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives on his papamobile for his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 1, 2013. Pope Francis urged political leaders to make every effort to create jobs and said unemployment was caused by economic thinking "outside the bounds of social justice." AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

September 22, 2015 by Mary Beth Albright




Even Even though my suggested hashtag for the Pope’s visit to Washington, #TheHolyDSee, is sadly not in heavy rotation, I’m still excited for his arrival Tuesday. And not because of the specialty beers or the “Pope Specials” at restaurants whose reach doesn’t extend beyond low-hanging fruit.

I’m excited because Pope Francis I’s relationship to food goes far beyond “Popecorn” sold in little paper hats to people lined up along his motorcade route. He has spoken publicly and repeatedly about healthy food access and the “scandal” of hunger and malnutrition (which are different things—people can be obese and malnourished). It should not come as a surprise that a Christian leader would call hunger a scandal. After all, Christian churches’ stated goal is to be like Jesus, who famously fed 5,000 people at a hilltop peace rally (and a pescetarian diet of loaves and fishes at that).

Even thought he’s been Pope for only two and a half years, Francis has made a bigger splash to date than many popes during their decades-long service. You don’t have to be a Catholic to care about what he calls the “paradox of abundance,” where we make enough food but not everyone can eat, just as one doesn’t have to be a Tibetian Buddhist to agree with some of the Dalai Lama’s ideas. These quotes are calls to action—thoughts and meditations on the future of food and what can happen if we pay attention … and what may happen if we don’t.

“Our grandparents used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food. Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value. Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and hungry.” June 5, 2013
“The first concern for all of us when considering food production is the human person and all those who are victims of hunger.” May 1, 2015
“It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous.” June 20, 2013
“[We can] give a voice to those who suffer silently from hunger, and this voice can become a roar that shakes the world. This campaign is also an invitation for all of us to become more conscious about our food choices, which often lead to waste and a poor use of the resources available to us. It is also a reminder to stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger firsthand.” December 19, 2013
“We need to find ways to all benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality, and respect for every human being.” June 20, 2013

ThePlate, National Geographic Magazine