WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hunger and food insecurity are year-round problems.
But during the summer months when school is out, childhood hunger becomes a greater issue.
“Summer is a time when families struggle at times to put food on the table,” says Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in Wilmington Branch Director Beth Gaglione. “Families are working, kids are at home; they are not eating at school as often and it’s a real challenge.”
According to Gaglione, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of children in need of food.
“We know there’s been about a 48 percent increase in the number of children in the ages of zero to 18 that are experiencing hunger,” said Gaglione. “At one time, it was one in five children; now, it’s to the point where it is one in three children, on average, experience food insecurity.”
Without proper nutrition, it makes it difficult for kids to do all the things they love during the summer months.
“We want children to be able to learn,” said Gaglione. “We want them to have enough energy to go outside and play, and to participate in baseball and other things that will keep them healthy. In order to do that, they have to have a good nutritious meal.”
WECT is partnering up with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in a virtual food drive. A one-dollar donation can provide five meals to those in need.