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Hunger Facts

16 million kid in the United States struggle with hunger.

North Carolina has the 11th highest rate of childhood food insecurity in the U.S.

1 in 5 kids in America don't get the food they need every day (that number jumps to 1 in 4 for kids living in N.C.). This takes a terrible toll on their health and development, threatening their futures in profound ways. Hunger also drags down our nation's economy and traps families by perpetuating the cycle of poverty.


  • Kids who eat breakfast miss less school, get better grades, and are more likely to graduate from High School  

  • Missed meals create stress, physcial and emotional pain, and the inability to thrive in the classroom from the very beginning  

  • Hunger and poverty are primary contributors to the "achievement gap" which we see develop well before kids are even in the 3rd grade


We're talking about little guys, our children, who should just be able to be kids. 


Hunger is everywhere in America - it's in every state and every town and we often can't see it.  You can "map the meal gap" to understand childhood hunger in your own community here.  At Grow Our Kids, our mission is to "fill the gap" by creating and running programs to get good food to great kiddos so they can thrive and succeed in their young lives. 


You can find out a lot more on the No Kid Hungry website (they are a national organization connecting kids to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals):


Stats for States with Grow Our Kids Chapters:

Stats for the United States:

Additional Food for Thought:

A household that is “food insecure” has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.  Households with children are more likely to be food insecure than those without children

(Feeding America 2014 Hunger in America Study)


North Carolina*

In NC, 1 in 4 (24.6%) of children under 18 years of age are food insecure on a regular basis. N.C. has one of the highest percentages of childhood hunger in the United States.


  • 81% of NC households receiving food assistance don’t know where their next meal is coming from

  • 36% of food pantries in NC have had to turn people away for a lack of food to give them

  • 73% of households served by food banks have had to choose between paying for food or paying for health care/medicine

  • 75% of households served by food banks have had to choose between buying food and heating their homes

  • 61% of families served by food banks have been forced to choose between paying for food or paying for housing

  • An estimated 22% of households served by NC food banks have a member who has served in the military; 6% have a member currently serving


Being Hungry Makes it Hard to Learn*

Undernourished children don’t learn as fast or as well as nourished children. Kids who are hungry can't focus and do well in school. 46% of children from low-income families say hunger hurts their performance in school. 12% say that sometimes at night they're too distracted by hunger to do their homework.


3 out of 4 U.S. teachers say their students regularly come to school hungry. 43% of these see hungry students arrive nearly every day*


“For some of our kids, Monday is a rough day, not knowing how much food they had that weekend. But it's never the child's fault that they're hungry."- Joslyn Waldron, school social worker*


"It's like the pain of the hunger is like eating at you. You're mostly thinking about food because all you want to do is eat, get rid of the hunger feeling. You can't really do your work." – Mario, age 13


Meals matter. Kids who eat breakfast:

  • Miss less school

  • Get better grades

  • Are more likely to graduate from high school


Hunger Deprives Our Kids from More than just Food**


“Kids who don’t get enough to eat — especially during their first three years — begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. And as they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.”


Poverty and Hunger*

  • 23% of low-income parents have cut the size of their children's meals because of lack of money. Almost half say they can't afford enough food each month

  • Of the families surveyed who rely on food programs, 92 percent were working families, with at least one adult in the house working full time, part time or multiple jobs 

  • Low-income families spend $300 or more each month for groceries when kid are out of school

  • 62% of low-income parents worry about running out of food for their children before having enough money to buy more, and 35% of kids share that fear

  • Two-thirds of (low-income) parents said just one unplanned expense would make it difficult to afford enough food for the family


Sources: *No Kid Hungry; **Feeding America

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