Food insecurity is the condition of not having access to enough food, or food of adequate quality, to meet basic needs. According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure.
Here in North Carolina, 1.25 million people (or 1 in 8 North Carolinians), including more than 350,000 children (1 in 6) are food insecure. These individuals and families face the difficult choice between having food to eat or a safe place to live.
These individuals and families suffering from food insecurity are our neighbors. In his research for his book Poverty, By America, Matthew Desmond found that in “2020, one in seventeen Food Lion workers in North Carolina drew on food stamps.”
Food insecurity and hunger are often hidden from sight as we can’t tell a person is hungry simply by looking at them. Yet every Tuesday and Thursday 200-300 people show up for a free meal at Hot Dish & Hope. Hunger and food insecurity is a very real problem for many of our neighbors. As a PC(USA) Hunger Action Congregation, we are responding to the biblical call to alleviate hunger and end its causes.
Hot Dish & Hope is one way in which we respond to food insecurity. Another is our semi-annual Neil’s Meals. At Neil’s Meals we partner with the Out of the Garden Project to provide meals for people in the Triad region. They provide the food and we pack it to be distributed to those who need meals.
Our next Neil’s Meals is Saturday, October 7, with registration at 8:30 am and then we will pack the food 9-11 am. This is a great opportunity not only for us to make a difference in our community, but also a chance to teach our children and youth the importance of service in the life of faith. Children 8 and up are invited to participate, with children under 13 needing to work alongside a parent. Neil’s Meals is also a wonderful chance for fellowship. As we work together to help others we also get to build relationships and connections within the life of our congregation. I hope you join us Saturday, October 7! Be sure to sign up here!
Neil’s Meals is not the only upcoming opportunity to address food insecurity in the life of the church. On Saturday, September 23, we will be hosting a fund-raiser, A Taste of Kenya, for Sister2Sister, our global partner in Kenya which is “committed to bringing wholeness into the broken lives of women and children from all walks of life.” Currently Sister2Sister feeds about 150 children daily and has completed the building of a Children’s Home and School in Ngong, where they are housing teenage mothers and their babies. Purity Ruchugo, founder of Sister2Sister, will be preparing a delicious Kenyan meal for the fund-raiser. Tickets are $30 per person and help support the work of Sister2Sister. Be sure to sign up here and join us from 5-7 pm for a wonderful evening of food and fellowship!