North Carolina YMCAs provided nearly 2.5 million meals to children, adults and seniors in 2021 to fight food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19. In addition, YMCAs donated more than 640,000 pounds of food, including 430,000+ pounds of fresh, healthy produce, to nourish those in need.
“The Y continues to serve people across the state who are struggling to put food on the table as a result of the pandemic,” said Sherée Vodicka, CEO of the NC Alliance of YMCAs. “As a nonprofit, the Y is a critical community partner and resource; we have proudly worked alongside schools, city and county social service agencies, and other local organizations to meet the increased need in many different ways.”
Many YMCAs served or delivered meals when schools were closed to in-person learning due to COVID-19, some became USDA food program sponsors or sites, and many expanded current efforts, including USDA food programs, food recovery programs, and food drives and food distribution sites in their local communities to help fill gaps. Ys strengthened and developed new local partnerships and relied on dedicated volunteers and donors to support this community outreach.
According to Feeding America, one in five children and one in seven adults in North Carolina face hunger and 32% of seniors live in or near poverty levels; 26% of homes with children in North Carolina are food insecure.
“Having access to food is foundational for children to learn and grow, for adults to perform well at work and to care for their families, and for seniors to maintain health and well-being,” Vodicka said. “Access to nutritious food is critical to successful outcomes; the Y is committed to strengthening communities through this work.”
According to the Food Research & Action Center, rates of food insufficiency at the end of 2021 were higher than they were over the summer, and Covid-19 has further amplified disparities by race, gender and ethnicity. The price of food has increased through the year, making it more challenging for more people to afford to eat.
Learn more about some of the bright spots in 2021 food insecurity work at our Ys.