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Hungry For a Snow Day: Impact of Weather on Kids in Need

Photo: Recent snow days have left many North Carolina children hungry. Photo courtesy; flickr.com/flakyredhead
Photo: Recent snow days have left many North Carolina children hungry. Photo courtesy; flickr.com/flakyredhead
March 9, 2015

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. - While many North Carolina kids have rejoiced in the multitude of snow days experienced in recent weeks, others are left looking for their next meal. More than 600,000 children in the Tar Heel state are at risk for hunger and slightly more than that receive free or reduced-price lunch in school.

Amanda Stansbury, child nutrition supervisor for Henderson County Schools, says when school is abruptly canceled many of those students are left in a lurch.

"It's heartbreaking when you think lunch is their last meal to the next morning and you think about these snow days that are thrown into the mix," Stansbury says.

Like many school systems Henderson County participates in the "backpack program" which sends children home on the weekends with food to eat, but that program isn't able to provide assistance quickly enough when rough weather hits.

Stansbury recalls watching one student eat two breakfasts one morning after being sent home early the day before lunch because of severe weather.

"It was a sandwich he got to take home and unfortunately, who is to say when his next meal was," she says. "These parents don't have the funding. Over 50 percent of our population are free and reduced in Henderson County."

According to the North Carolina Association of Feeding American Foodbanks, this state has one of the highest percentages of children who are food insecure on a regular basis with more than 26 percent of children facing that situation.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC