Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina is working to build resilient, healthy, and hunger-free communities.
As a member of Feeding America and Feeding the Carolinas, Second Harvest employs a two-pronged approach to serve rural and urban communities across 18 counties in Northwest North Carolina: its work addresses both immediate food needs, as well as the root causes of hunger and poverty. To that end, Second Harvest acts as a central hub by bringing together like-minded organizations in pursuit of accessible and nutritious food and by providing food assistance to a network of over 430 on-the-ground partner programs.
Second Harvest is especially cognizant of the critical interconnection between nutrition and health; one-third of client households surveyed by Second Harvest's partner programs across 14 counties identified at least one household member who suffered from a dietary health condition, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Second Harvest champions the belief that food is medicine and that good nutrition is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second Harvest's programming supports healthier eating by providing nutrition workshops, cooking courses, and support in applying to federal nutrition programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended economic stability for many families and has heightened food insecurity; Feeding America estimates that one out of every six people is now food insecure in Northwest North Carolina. Second Harvest faces challenges in meeting the needs of its community, such as sourcing enough food and funds, serving most efficiently, and matching the overall capacity of its network to demand. All of these were exacerbated by COVID-19. Second Harvest is now working on the frontlines to encourage collaboration among partner programs, address supply chain challenges, and ensure that all community members are able to safely access healthy and adequate food during the pandemic. Visit NAFSN's sister program, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) to read more about Second Harvest's frontline work: https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.018.
A unique feature of Second Harvest's programming (and one that is indicative of the full-circle nature of its work) is the Providence Culinary Training Program. Since its launch in 2006, this 13-week program has served as a pathway for individuals looking for long-lasting and fulfilling careers in food and hospitality. Additionally, the food prepared during the course is given back to members of the community. Providence Culinary Training is able to address both hunger and unemployment, which is a leading cause of food insecurity. The program has over 750 graduates and has served more than 2.5 million people.
Second Harvest is at the forefront of tackling food insecurity, hunger, and poverty in Northwest North Carolina, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its outsized impact, Second Harvest is facilitating progress towards hunger-free and healthier communities. Visit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC to learn more about its initiatives and upcoming programs.
Search the terms "food access" and "health disparities" at the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development to explore this topic further.