September Is Hunger Action Month
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September marks Hunger Action Month, a time to bring awareness to food access disparities in our community and to come together to help feed our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table. According to the most recent estimates from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, approximately 16% of Lee County residents are food insecure, including 22% of children. Fortunately, we have several food relief agencies who help to connect food insecure residents with food, which include the Bread Basket, Christians United Outreach Center, Bread of Life Ministries, and Salvation Army of Lee County. In addition to the efforts of these organizations, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina distributed over 1.5 million pounds of food in Lee County between 2020-2021.
To bring awareness to food insecurity in our area and to help contribute healthy and fresh local produce to these community partners, we will be hosting donation stations at the Sanford Farmers’ Market starting this weekend. How donation stations work: market shoppers can choose to donate either produce they purchase at the market or cash at the donation station. Volunteers running the donation station will then use donations to purchase produce and other foods from market vendors. After the market, all produce collected at the donation station will be dropped off or picked up by the food relief agencies to distribute to food insecure residents. We will be offering a donation station to pilot this program at the Sanford Farmers’ Market starting this weekend. We hope to offer donation stations at the market on a more regular basis next year.
Donation stations are one tool in a community’s arsenal to help increase food access, and they are being used by N.C. Cooperative Extension staff and volunteers across the state! Learn more about donation stations.