Over 6,000 children could go hungry at some point this summer in Orange County, according to hunger relief agencies.
While many receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year — about 30 percent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City students and roughly 44 percent of Orange County students — the programs break for summer, leaving families to pick up the cost.
The 12 Orange County food pantries served by PORCH report the demand is steady and growing, said Debbie Horwitz, a co-founder of the Carrboro nonprofit.
TABLE also saw a recent spike in the number of needy children, program director Laura Dille said. The agency fills the backpacks of 550 local students with weekend meals, she said, and is working with Weaver Street Market to continue that program through the summer for up to 450 children.
“We just expect that to continue, because Chapel Hill is a pretty expensive place to live,” Dille said. “There’s a lot of people working hard — in (food service) or landscaping or cleaning — and they are not able to provide for their families on that income.”