Many individuals and families living in Raleigh, NC, regularly struggle with food insecurity. As of 2014, nearly 14% (approximately 132,000) of the city’s residents were food insecure, a number that’s undoubtedly risen due to its growing population and the ongoing effects of COVID-19. According to data compiled by the USDA, Southeast Raleigh in particular is home to a disproportionate number of households that lack reliable transportation. The residents of these same households also live in food deserts, meaning they reside a significant distance from the nearest supermarket or grocery store.
Through the analysis of data featured on the Wake County Social Equity Atlas, we've identified 6 low-income, high-SAP-receiving census tracts located in Southeast Raleigh, consisting of 8605 households, 18.5% (1597) of which are located in food deserts. This data, along with helpful anecdotal information shared with us by Wake County community members working to combat food insecurity, support the idea that a free food distribution service would help remedy the food insecurity issues of the residents in the aforementioned households - specifically the most at-risk members of the population (low-income, senior citizens, and the homeless).
We've conducted extensive research into assessing where the needs for a free food distribution service are most pressing in Southeast Raleigh. Through communication with numerous community partners, including Wake County Human Services, the Wake County Office of Sustainability, the NC Cooperative Extension, and Southeast Raleigh Promise, as well as data derived from the aforementioned Social Equity Atlas and USDA Food Desert Map, we've identified 6 neighborhood areas where the regular distribution of free healthy hot meals and grocery bundles containing fresh produce and non-perishable food items will prove most beneficial. Bordered by Rock Quarry Road to the east, E. Lenoir Street to the north, Garner Road to the west, and I-40 to the south, these neighborhoods will serve as the initial locations for Neighborfood Express's distribution efforts.
The organizing principle behind the program is to combat food insecurity by delivering free healthy food and supplies directly to neighborhood residents who lack both transportation and physical proximity to available food sources. Ever since launching our efforts in November 2020, we've made tremendous progress in accomplishing our goal of ending hunger for thousands of food insecure kids and families.
Our first-year goal for Neighborfood Express is to distribute a minimum 50,000 pounds of free healthy groceries, as well as essential supplies, to residents in the aforementioned neighborhoods. By doing so, we'll help eliminate hunger for nearly 5000 Southeast Raleigh residents.
We also regularly provide free support services to help meet all the needs of the kids and families we serve, including in such areas as housing, employment, addiction recovery, and education.
Here's how we're doing it:
Each week, our families get 20-25 pound bundles of free healthy groceries, containing fresh meats and fruits, non-perishables, and other healthy food items.
Our families also get 5-10 pounds of fresh produce each week, including carrots, beets, cabbage, greens, kale, and other seasonal items, all provided by our
gracious farm partners.
Thanks to our partnership with the wonderful Olive Garden, we provide 100-200 pounds of free surplus food items to our families each week, including pasta, meats, soups, and other healthy treats.
Thanks to our partnership with the amazing Wake Up and Read, all school-aged children in the families we serve receive 5 free kids books each week.
Courtesy of our partnership with the wonderful Diaper Bank of North Carolina, we provide free baby and infant supplies for all the families who need them, including such items as baby wipes, diaper cream, and lip balm.
Through our ever-growing Community Empowerment Coalition of partner agencies, we strive to meet every possible need the kids and families we serve may have, including housing, employment, counseling, education, and second chance resources. All the services we provide through the coalition are free of charge and handled by the dedicated members of our social work staff.
For more info: https://neighborfoodexpress.org/the-coalition
Your generous support will help us eliminate hunger in the lives of thousands of kids and families.
All donations will be gratefully acknowledged and are tax deductible! Our EIN: 81-4262845.
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