North Carolina is one of eight states selected to take part in a project to learn about best practices for fighting childhood hunger, Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper announced today.
At Gov. and Mrs. Cooper’s request, the state will participate in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Learning Lab on Reducing Childhood Hunger.
The project comes at the same time as a provision in the N.C. Senate’s budget proposes to eliminate 100% federally-funded food stamps for 133,000 North Carolinians, which includes 51,000 children whose free and reduced school lunch status could be jeopardized.
North Carolina is one of the most food insecure states in the country, with one in four North Carolina children facing food insecurity. Fighting childhood hunger is a priority for both the Governor and the First Lady.
“It should shock us all that so many children in our state don’t get enough to eat,” Gov. Cooper said. “We must find ways to help hungry children and their families, not go out of the way to make it harder for them.”
“Together, we can improve the well-being of children in our state in multiple ways if food insecurity is addressed,” Mrs. Cooper said. “We believe that we have the resources, tools, and people to create a North Carolina that is brimming with healthy children who are well fed, productive, and happy.”
NGA learning labs provide an opportunity for a limited number of state teams to visit a state that is successfully implementing an innovative practice. States participating in the childhood hunger learning lab will have the opportunity to meet in Virginia to learn about best practices for providing access to healthy meals to school-age children, assessing the degree of childhood hunger present in their own states for policymaking, and begin developing a plan for reducing childhood hunger.
North Carolina is committed to reducing hunger in the state, and this opportunity supports collaboration among state agencies and non-profit organizations that are working toward the same goals. The collaboration team will include the Office of the First Lady, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Instruction, and the North Carolina Association of Food Banks.