The Problem of Childhood Hunger in Forsyth County

Hunger in America—and in our community—is an everyday reality. A 2016 USDA study concluded that 12.3% of all U.S. households—experienced food insecurity. In our county, 60,550 people, or 16.9%, are food insecure. Of that number 23%, or 19,750, are children.

How bad is the problem?


  • The Winston-Salem area ranks #16 in the top 20 worst in the nation for families with children reporting food insecurity. (Healthways Gallup Poll Food Research and Action Center August 2015)
  • NC’s rate of child food insecurity is almost twice the national rate.
  • More than 50% of WSFCS school children receive free or reduced-price school lunch.

Did you know . . .


Several cities in NC—Asheville, Greensboro, High Point—and Winston-Salem—have some of the highest levels of food insecurity in the nation.


In Forsyth County, there are


How childhood hunger affects children—and their community


According to a Feeding America report:

  • Children in food insecure families are vulnerable to poor health and stunted development from the earliest stages of life. They are more likely to require hospitalization and are at greater risk for chronic health problems, such as anemia and asthma. They are also at greater risk of truancy and school tardiness.
  • Hungry children do more poorly in school and underachieve as a result of lack of preparation and inability to concentrate.
  • Adults who were hungry as children are not as well prepared to perform effectively in the contemporary workforce.

What about food banks?

Food banks do what they can, but they are unable to meet the needs of everyone, especially children. Many food pantries have had to turn people away for lack of food; all have had to reduce the amount of food they can provide.


28% of food pantries have had to turn people away due to lack of food


42% of people served by food banks have had to choose between buying food and heating their home


35% of families served by food banks have had to choose between buying food and paying their rent or mortgage


Feeding America

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

Food Research and Action Center