High Country Magazine - December 2020

Page 32

Everyone Deserves To Eat Watauga County

Poverty Rate = 31.3% ( 2nd highest in N.C.)

U.S. Poverty Rate = 15.1% N.C. Poverty Rate = 16.8%

More than 42% of Watauga County residents qualify for food assistance

Hunger in Watauga County 41.4% school kids on free/ reduced lunch 1-in-4 children under 18 are food insecure 1-in-3 children from single parent households are food insecure

Food Pantries Across the Nation Work to Combat Food Insecurity Watauga County Food Pantries Deliver Over 50,000 Pounds of Food Monthly Story by Harley Nefe • Photos by Ken Ketchie


want you to know that if it wasn’t for this pantry, we wouldn’t eat. I’m 76 and my husband’s 81, and every month we have to make decisions on what medicines or bills to pay for. God bless you. You’re the only reason we have food.” These were the exact words from a woman visiting the food pantry at the


Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina on Oct. 7. Watauga County has been designated the third poorest county in the state of North Carolina. Nearly 15% of Watauga County residents have incomes less than $10,000 annually. More than 42% of Watauga County residents qualify for food assistance.

“I tell people if you go two miles off King Street, two miles off Downtown West Jefferson, two miles off Downtown Banner Elk, you will see abject poverty. People just don’t want to look at it,” said Todd Carter, Director of Development for Hospitality House. “Our numbers here in Watauga County are actually higher than the state’s average on food

Cars line up to pick up their food boxes at the Hunger and Health Coalition. December 2020 lients used to be able to pick out their own food; however, food boxes are being packed now due to COVID-19.

High Country Magazine

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