Food Bank sees alarming jump in food insecurity
 across Northeastern North Carolina – OBX Today

Food Bank sees alarming jump in food insecurity
 across Northeastern North Carolina - OBX Today
Food Bank of the Albemarle. [YMCA at the Pines photo]

Food Bank of the Albemarle has announced that new figures from Feeding America’s Annual Map the Meal Gap study show that food insecurity has surged across northeastern North Carolina. 

Map the Meal Gap is the only study that provides local-level estimates of food insecurity and food costs for every county and congressional district. The study builds upon the USDA’s latest report of national and state data, which showed a sharp increase in food insecurity in 2022 amidst historically high food prices and the expiration of many pandemic-era programs. Map the Meal Gap emphasizes the urgent call for all of us to take action.

The insights provided from the Map the Meal Gap study show that there are growing numbers of neighbors in our service area that need help,” said Liz Reasoner, Executive Director of Food Bank of the Albemarle. “Elevated food prices, along with rising costs of housing, utilities, essential medicines, and transportation all combine to create incredible challenges for our neighbors. No one should ever be hungry and collectively, we can ensure that all are fed.”

Key findings of Map the Meal Gap include:

  • Food insecurity in our region has increased from 36,000 to 43,630 neighbors (14.7% of the population).

Food Insecurity by Geography:

  • Food insecurity impacts communities in every county, parish, and congressional district in the U.S.  Food Bank of the Albemarle’s (FBA) 15-county service area covers 9,000 sq. miles of rural land.
  • Estimated food insecurity levels vary across regions, influenced by factors like unemployment and poverty rates as well as policies and practices rooted in history that continue to hold people back today.
  • Overall, 1 in 7 people in northeastern NC are food insecure.
  • 1 in 4 children are food insecure.
  • In northeastern NC, food insecurity ranges from a low of 12% in Camden County to 21.6% in Hyde County.  Every county has food-insecure neighbors.
  • Child food insecurity is highest at 40.6% in rural Hyde County (1 in 2 children).

Income and Food Spending:

  • Here in NC, more than 35% of people facing hunger may not qualify for SNAP benefits.
  • The national food budget shortfall, which reflects the extra money that people who are food insecure report needing to cover their food needs, has hit a record high of $33.1 billion, up nearly 43% from the previous year. This translates to a $24.73 a-week shortfall per person, on average, for the neighbors in FBA’s service area.

Food Cost and Meal Prices:

  • In FBA’s service area, the average estimated cost per meal is $3.91, which reflects the growing need we see at Food Bank of the Albemarle for food pantry services.

Call to Action: 

Having the data on hunger in our region gives us the tools needed to help fight hunger, and identify those areas of population that may be underserved. You can be part of the solution to end hunger through financial donations, volunteering, and advocacy.

For more information on hunger in northeastern NC and how you can make a difference today, visit the Food Bank’s website at:

The Map the Meal Gap study is supported by Conagra Brands Foundation and NielsenIQ/NIQ. Additional key takeaways from the report can be found on the Map the Meal Gap website along with an interactive map that details food insecurity by geography, income, race and ethnicity.


Map the Meal Gap uses publicly available data from the USDA ERS, U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate local food insecurity at the county, congressional district and state levels. The study also estimates local meal costs and food budget shortfalls using food price data from NIQ based on the USDA Thrifty Food Plan, and grocery sales tax data for every county and state in the country. 


To learn how food insecurity impacts your community, visit For more information about Food Bank of the Albemarle and how to help end hunger in northeastern NC, visit