• 7% said their household groceries did not last long enough during the pandemic months, rising from 1.8% before COVID-19 set in.
• 7.6% said they often worried about having too little to eat, a figure that more than doubled during the pandemic months.
• 6.1% said they couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals, more than tripling in the pandemic months.
“What’s more concerning to me is that based on all six food security questions, we are trending in the wrong direction for every single question,” said Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at N.C. State, and one of the study’s authors.
“Pre-pandemic, our state already had 1 in 5 children and 1 in 7 adults struggling to put food on the table,” she said. “We don’t have the luxury to trend in the wrong direction now.”
Friends and family supplementing government aid
The study highlights how much relief has come from friends, family and charity.
Once the pandemic hit, it took time for any government response to trickle down, Haynes-Maslow said. Federal resources like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, grew more flexible, allowing online food shopping and providing emergency supplements.