Eastway Elementary in Durham bustled with chatter Wednesday morning as children played at the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) Science Technology Engineering Arts Math (STEAM) and Literacy Camp. Campers finished their morning instruction while also preparing to welcome a special guest joining them for lunch.
North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper visited EDCI’s STEAM and Literacy Camp during a tour of summer meal sites in Durham and Raleigh to highlight and learn from programs that combat food insecurity.
Since taking on the role of first lady, Cooper has focused on programs and initiatives that target adverse childhood experiences. In addition to visiting EDCI, Cooper also visited the Advance Community Health summer program, which provides lunch and educational services to children in Southeast Raleigh.
“The Governor and I would really like to see universal breakfast for every child in this state," Cooper said. "It’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. It’s never been a problem about not having enough food. We waste tons of it. The problem has always been about getting food to people who need it.”
According to the Map the Meal Gap report by Feeding America, Durham has a food insecurity rate of 17.3 percent. This is higher than Orange County at 13.2 percent and Wake County at 12.7 percent. For many children, food insecurity intensifies during the summer without access to free and reduced breakfast and lunch offered at school.