On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Carolina Hunger Initiative hosted the 12th annual NC Child Hunger Leaders Conference. See some of the media coverage:
For the first time since the 2020 pandemic, leaders with the Carolina Hunger Initiative joined together Wednesday in Chapel Hill for their annual NC Child Hunger Leaders Conference.
The event featured First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper, and the National School Nutrition Director of the Year Robert Rolfe who works for Henderson County Schools.
Organizers say their goal is to make sure all kids have access for food and nutrition.
During this school year, access to free meals for all students that were put in place during the pandemic ended. The Carolina Hunger Initiative says due to those programs ending, major challenges continue to affect child nutrition programs.
The day was filled with child nutrition champions — those working in school districts and at the state level, advocates, and nonprofits, all who are dedicated to helping curb child hunger.
Presenters included Lynn Harvey, senior director of the Office of School Nutrition at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, who gave updated numbers on the current school meal debt in North Carolina.
“You may recall that in November we recorded that level of unpaid school meal debt at $1.3 million,” she said. “Well, at the end of December, that figure escalated to a little over $3.1 million dollars.”