Have You Seen Mountaintop Rotary’s Giving Trees in Highlands?
Food Insecurity One the Biggest Covid Challenges
In the United States 45 percent of children under 18 – 32.4 million – live in low-income families who in good times still struggle to have enough to feed the family well. When the pandemic hit, many low income families suffered job losses and time without work due to illness, so the problem multiplied. Organizations on the Plateau report that the need for food has increased 15-20 percent.
Mountaintop Rotary has made food insecurity a constant issue in its effort to help with the important problems on the plateau and around the world. MTR regularly supports the International Friendship Center, the Emergency Council and the Highlands Food Pantry.
In an annual effort each winter, Giving Trees are set up in three locations in Highlands, encouraging citizens to make the gift of food through buying a food gift card. The cards are then distributed by the organizations who help the needy, The Emergency Council and The Highlands Food Pantry. The trees are located at Brysons, Reeves Ace Hardware and Mountain Fresh this year and will stay up until February.
Marty Rosenfield, director at the Highlands Food Pantry said they have seen an increase in the number of local families who come seeking food in Highlands. The Food Pantry is located in the back of the Methodist Church on the lower level, and food donations may be left at the door at any time. The Food Pantry serves local families as well as those who drive from Otto, Franklin, and Cashiers, averaging 75 families a week or support for 400 people. Around the holidays they saw a spike and served up to 110 families.
Food insecurity and obesity are related. In North Carolina 65,7% of all adults are overweight or obese. Low-income households are at risk for obesity because limited resources stretch further buying cheaper unhealthy foods which can lead to obesity, according to the Food Research and Action Center. Donations will be used to buy healthy food choices.
If you can’t get to a Giving Tree and want to donate to feed the hungry, send your check to Mountaintop Rotary at PO Box 372, Highlands, 28741.