What is Food Security? Are We Food Secure?

Produce market with assorted vegetables

Access to food is a basic human need and is vital to the well-being of a community. Food security is defined as reliable access to quality, affordable food. Food insecurity threatens the fabric of a healthy society.

The average food insecurity rate across NC counties is estimated to be 14%; Carteret County has a food insecurity rate of 15% (based on Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap Study).

The fallout from the pandemic and the country’s current financial condition suggests these numbers will rise.

The PKS Council on Aging strongly supports this mission and has been actively promoting information related to this important issue.

Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging Food Reimbursements

In January 2023, we publicized the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging’s providing $500 reimbursements to assist 60+ year old Carteret County residents to address nutritional needs.

The Town of PKS endorsed this program and extended the messaging to a wider audience. Purchase exclusions apply. Distributions will continue as long as the grant money lasts. Call 252-638-3185 to confirm availability.

NC Coalition of County Commissions Food Resilience Initiative

Also in January 2023, we introduced the Food Resilience Initiative which gained support from the Pine Knoll Shores Board of Commissioners.

The North Carolina Coalition of County Commissions has been leading this initiative. The goal of this effort is to identify ways counties can help ensure all North Carolinians have access to high-quality, affordable food and local producers are able to help meet this need.

In February 2023 the Town of PKS joined 21 counties in NC with its full support of the initiative.

St. Francis Meals on Wheels Ministry

While we don’t have solid numbers on the extent of need within Pine Knoll Shores, the Council on Aging has established a working relationship with the St. Francis Meal Ministry on the island.

This ministry serves Meals on Wheels in MHC and makes extra meals for parishioners and community residents in need.

They typically prepare meals twice a month. Using microwavable containers, meals refrigerated until delivered and are ready for reheating. Our contacts are Robin Loflin Smith and her husband, Terry Smith.

Requests for meals for residents within PKS can be made by calling a PKS Council member Cindy Schersching: 252-726-1986 (leave message) or Linda Cumberland 252-247-7137 or by leaving a message at the church at 252-240-2388.

Allow at least 24 hours for a meal delivery. Unfortunately, specific dietary needs cannot be accommodated.

There are no requirements in terms of income, the number of meals or length of time to receive meals. While there are no costs associated with receiving a meal, donations designated for the Meals on Wheels program are welcomed.

Food and hot meals are available to all county residents throughout the week. Council member William (Bill) Douglas alerted the Council to current listing of free food resources in Morehead City.

Catherine Elkins, president of the Carteret Local Food Network collaborates with other nonprofits across the county to address food insecurity. The network provides food resources and hot meals through food pantries, local agencies and churches.

Again, there are no costs associated with receiving food/meals, donations are welcomed.

Check the dates, times, and requirements for each listed on the following below. More information can be found at Carteret County Food Resources NCSU Extension Marketing and Communications.

Food Pantries

Bethlehem UMCCall for schedule540-623-0658
Glad Tidings ChurchMon-Thu 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm252-726-0160
Ladies Outreach CommitteeCall for schedule252-646-1628
Lighthouse Pantry2nd Sat 8am-10am (Down East only);
4th Sat 8am-10am (All county)
Loaves and Fishes1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Mon 10am-1pm;
Last Thu 1pm
Martha’s MissionMon, Wed, Fri 10:30am-3pm252-726-1717
Matthew 25/St. James UMCMon, Thu 9am-11am252-725-3311
Carteret Community College
Smith Building
Mon-Thu 9am-5pm252-222-6152
Salvation ArmyMon-Fri 8am-12pm, 1pm-5pm252-726-7147
Storehouse PantryMon-Fri 10am-1pm252-725-5539
Wildwood Presbyterian ChurchThu 8:30am252-726-9118

Hot Meals: Drive Through/Take Out

Where to Pick Up Hot MealsWhenPhone
Atlantic UMCThu 11:30am-12 noon252-225-7701
“Five Loaves Supper”
First Baptist Church of Beaufort
Mon 5pm-6pm252-728-6811
Hand 2 HandMon 11am252-418-0000
Harlowe UMCSat 11:30am-1pm252-241-5896

Hot Meals: Drive Through/Take Out

Name of KitchenWhenPhone
Hope Mission Soup KitchenMon-Sat 11am-12:30pm252-240-2359
Congregate Nutrition at Leon Mann Senior CenterMon-Fri 11:30am252-247-2626


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