"Spring hunger gap" hitting local food banks hard - | WBTV Charlotte

"Spring hunger gap" hitting local food banks hard


It's called the "spring hunger gap", a crisis local food pantries face this time of year. With half a million people in the Charlotte region that may end up going hungry, they're asking for your help.

But so many other families in Charlotte have no other choice.

Local food pantries like this one are facing what's called the spring hunger gap.

"During the holidays, the food bank is kind of like a squirrel putting nuts away for winter," said Shay Merritt, Community Development Coordinator with Second Harvest Food Bank Metrolina. 

But by this time of year, most of that stockpile is gone. Thus, that gap and the struggle to meet the needs of thousands.

"So there is a gap in the first 90 days of the year when people are experiencing higher utility costs and they have fewer resources," said Merritt. "So you have to spread the money farther."

LaTanya Sanford, of Charlotte, is the only one working in her household right now.

"I only get paid once a month myself and it can be towards the end month, things are running a little low," she said. 

Sanford says they wouldn't hesitate to turn to a local food bank -- if it came to that.

"Yeah, I would go," she admitted. "Most definitely. Wouldn't want to."

Budgeting has gotten harder to do since the payroll tax expired in January, leaving families like Sanford's with less money to spend on food.

"The holiday is over," she quipped. "Yeah, that's a week's worth of groceries."

While they're making due for now, Sanford knows a visit to a local food bank could be in their future.

"Fortunately, we haven't had to take that route because of family and friends coming together and things like that," she said. "But if I had to, there wouldn't been any shame in my game."

Some of the biggest needs at Second Harvest Food bank?

Child friendly foods like cereal bars, peanut butter and mac-and-cheese.

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