Feast Down East is re-shaping food insecurity

WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Neighborhoods where residents don’t always have access or money for healthy foods are known as food insecure neighborhoods. They’re found across the state and our area but, health food advocates are trying to change that.

Feast Down East started a mobile food market in January. It is the first local fresh food market to offer a food stamp matching program.

Jordyn Appel, who is the community food access coordinator for Feast Down East, is on the front line giving residents that rely on SNAP benefits the chance to purchase healthy products for less.

“A lot of individuals assume that individuals who are living in poverty often times will take whatever they can because if you’re hungry you shouldn’t have expectations,” said Appel.  “But, everyone has expectations and they should have expectations when it’s your food. It’s something that nourishes your body and ensures you’re going to be successful going forward into your life.”

The mobile farmers market brings fresh vegetables to 10 public housing sites.

“We’ve seen in these communities alone our market outreach grow from roughly 4 customer reach to about 8 or 9 in each community,” said Appel.

Appel says she anticipates the outreach will grow once spring vegetables get added to the selection.

Each year, Feast Down East draws a host of food advocates to bridge the food insecure gap at their annual conference.

The Summer Nutrition Program for children is trying to improve their network across the Cape Fear to reach more kids at risk of going hungry in the summer.

“We’re meeting about 15% of what we actually need to serve in this area,” said Christine Kerrigan, who works for the Department of Public Instruction.

The program reports that in 2018 more than 2,200 kids in New Hanover County received meals on average each day, during the summer.

“During the summer, the kids wouldn’t be able to have those meals that they get during the school year so, a lot of the kids would be going hungry,” said Grace Daniel, who also works with the Department of Public Instruction. “It’s just important that we keep going so we know they have a safe environment to come to, to get some safe nutritious meals.”

Children aren’t the only vulnerable group impacted by food insecurity. The alliance of food advocates are trying to change the narrative so no one goes hungry.

Children 18 and under looking for a free summer meal site can text ‘SUMMER MEALS’ to 97779, call toll-free 1.866.3Hungry or visit NoKidHungryNC.org .

Looking for the the Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market? Below are details of the van’s location weekly:

Tuesday: 8:30-10:30 Vesta Village, 11:30-1:30 Solomon Towers, 2:30-4:30 Eastbrook

Wednesday: 8:30-10:30 Woodbridge, 11:30-1:30 Taylor Estates, 2:30-4:30 Creekwood South

Thursday: 11:30-1:30 Glover Plaza, 2:30-4:30 Houston Moore

Friday: 10-12 Rankin Terrace, 1-3 Hillcrest


Categories: Local, New Hanover