Last weekend, over 200 students, staff and faculty from 23 colleges and universities throughout North Carolina gathered for two days at Wake Forest University for the second annual N.C. Campuses Against Hunger Conference, where they networked and collaborated on regional solutions for hunger in the state.
Approximately 170,200 different people in N.C. receive emergency food assistance in any given week, according to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks. This is equivalent to the entire current undergraduate enrollment of all 16 colleges and universities that make up the University of North Carolina system.
N.C. Campuses Against Hunger conference participants spent time sharing best practices and common problems in their efforts to combat hunger in their regions. Additionally, they experienced two different methods of fighting hunger: 12 lucky conference goers were able to participate in a Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University (CKWF) cooking shift and witness a local, long-term effort to fight hunger, while everyone else participated in a Stop Hunger Now meal packing session and learned about a large-scale, global effort.
Representatives from the Campus Kitchens at East Carolina University and Elon University joined their counterparts at CKWF for the conference, where they spent some time discussing their respective roles in the fight against hunger in North Carolina.
According to the latest Feeding America Map the Meal Gap data, North Carolina has the fifth highest food insecurity rate in the country. Our three Campus Kitchens in North Carolina are doing their part to lower this rate: this summer alone, they served more than 700 meals to nearly 500 clients combined. Collaboration among these Campus Kitchens is just one way they go beyond the meal to address the underlying causes of food insecurity in the state and become even more effective in the fight against hunger.