Hunger survey highlights food insecurity in Mecklenburg

The annual survey from the Loaves & Fishes free food pantry system has some discouraging news about food insecurity in North Carolina’s largest and most prosperous county.

The survey, done by the Loaves & Fishes free food pantry system, revealed 91 percent of respondents to the survey had run out of food in the past year and 71 percent had skipped eating for a time due to lack of food or money to buy food.

Tina Postel, executive director of Loaves & Fishes, says the numbers are virtually the same as last year’s survey, showing 2016 was a year without improvement for the community’s poor.

The survey also gave indications how low-income people are dealing with Charlotte’s lack of affordable housing: 53 percent of those surveyed said the free food they got from a pantry allowed them to shift grocery money to cover their rent payment. Others used the money for utility payments, transportation and/or health care needs.

Last year Loaves & Fishes gave a week’s worth of groceries to 71,766 people – nearly half children. Families can visit the pantry eight times a year.

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