Food Insecurity in Lee County

— Written By

Hunger affects every community in North Carolina. In Lee County, 8,680 people, (14.6% of the county population) are food insecure. Children and older adults have a greater risk of being hungry. When people lack access to adequate and healthy foods, their health and well-being suffers. Children are unable to concentrate in school, and people of all ages are more likely to be sick.

There are several programs that help people access food, but the largest federal program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps). In North Carolina, the program is called Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and operates through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Many households depend on the monthly food supplement to help expand their grocery budget and purchase healthier foods. Lee County Cooperative Extension offers a program called More In My Basket, which provides education about the FNS program. Through More In My Basket, participants learn if they are likely eligible for FNS, how FNS can expand their food budget, and receive individualized assistance with completing an application.

More In My Basket was developed at North Carolina State University by Dr. Carolyn Bird, Family Resource Management Specialist. “People with limited resources must make tough decisions about how to spend their money. They may forego medical care in order to put food on the table. They may skip meals to pay utility bills. Through More In My Basket, we help connect more people to FNS, allowing them to better manage their financial resources. FNS is not only good for families, but it helps the community as well. Research shows that for every $5 of FNS spent, there is a $9 impact in the community.”

Contact Alyssa Anderson at Lee County Cooperative Extension to learn about upcoming More In My Basket sessions or to schedule a session. Alyssa can be reached at 919-775-5624 or alyssa_anderson@ncsu.edu. If you would like to find out if you may be eligible for FNS, contact the More In My Basket Toll-Free Information Line at 1-855-240-1451.

The Lee County Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, wellness, and nutrition please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Alyssa Anderson, MS, RDN, LDN, at 919-775-5624.