Cuts to FNS on the horizon

Cuts to Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) are scheduled to go into effect on November 1, 2013, resulting in an average benefit of about $1.40 per person per meal. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, North Carolina will experience $166 million in cuts during fiscal year 2014.

The cuts to FNS will come at a particularly difficult time for low-income North Carolinians. The state currently has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country. And, recent reductions in unemployment benefits are expected to impact 170,000 unemployed adults in the state during the second half of 2013.

Read more about the looming cuts to FNS in a report by the NC Justice Center.

*Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) is known as SNAP at the federal level.

Alleghany County residents impacted by food insecurity

veggiesoup_550pxAlleghany County residents are feeling the effects of the downturn in the economy.  For these residents, knowing where their next meal will come free or even when they might eat again is a difficult reality.  Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina works with community groups in Alleghany County to help address this problem, known as food insecurity.  Food & Nutrition Services, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, also serves to alleviate food insecurity.  However, in Alleghany County, only 44% of persons eligible for Food & Nutrition Services are enrolled.  Participation among seniors is even lower, 27%.  To read the full article in The Alleghany News, click here.

Food Bank employee’s efforts highlighted

Emily Kraft, an employee with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC, provides FNS outreach in New Hanover County.  Emily explains the program and helps households with the FNS application.  Her efforts were highlighted in a recent article in the Star News.

Ashe County DSS recognized for FNS outreach

Ashe County Department of Social Services (DSS) was awarded a Hunger Champion Award by the U.S Department of Agriculture earlier this year. The award was in recognition of the county’s efforts to help households enroll in Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) (formerly the Food Stamp Program). The outreach efforts were part of a year-long partnership between Ashe County DSS and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. To read the full article, click here.

Eastern NC experiencing significant food hardship

The recently released report by the Food Research & Action Center indicates that nearly one in three Eastern North Carolinians experienced food hardship in 2010.  The state’s 1st congressional district ranks second among all 436 congressional districts in the country for food hardship.  G.K. Butterfield, representative of the state’s 1st congressional district, recognizes the importance of federal nutrition programs to address the growing hunger problem.  Rep. Butterfield states that while cuts need to be made to the federal budget, these cuts should not fall on low-income families.  Read the full article at

Food Hardship Worsens in North Carolina

A recent report by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) reveals that North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation for food hardship, a downward trend from the state’s ranking as 9th in the nation in 2009.  Among the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with the highest food hardship rates, Winston-Salem, Greensboro-High Point, and Asheville ranked 3rd, 4th, and 7th, respectively.  These numbers highlight the importance of federal nutrition programs, such as Food & Nutrition Services, as well as the role that food banks play in addressing the hunger needs of North Carolinians.  Read the full report here.

New Hanover County makes it easier for households to apply for FNS

New Hanover County Department of Social Services (DSS) recently installed computer kiosks in their lobby so households could check for eligibility and begin completing the application for FNS benefits.  Now, while applicants wait to speak with a DSS worker, they can begin the application process, which saves time for both applicants and DSS workers.

Other NC counties, including Orange County, have also taken this innovative step to make the application process easier.  Read the full story from WECT.

Cold weather hits Ashe County residents hard

The cold weather that Ashe County residents have experienced this winter is making it difficult to pay for basic needs, such as heat and food.  In Ashe County and beyond, many low-income households are faced with the decision to pay utility bills or buy food because they lack the income to pay for both.  Programs such as Food & Nutrition Services ease this difficult decision since FNS benefits free up income that would otherwise be spent on food, allowing households to use that money for other necessities, such as paying a utility bill.  Read the full story in the Mountain Times.

Benefit Bank helps NC families get FNS benefits

Benefit Bank of NC has helped thousands of families claim almost $1.7 million in FNS benefits this year.  Using trained counselors located throughout the state, Benefit Bank assists families with the FNS application and other programs including Medicaid, FAFSA, and tax credits.  Read the full article from the News & Observer.

EBT at Carrboro Farmers’ Market a success!

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market began accepting EBT cards in May 2010 and has seen great success!  Their Market Match program has doubled the spending power of EBT users.  Read more from the Chapel Hill News article.