CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The season of giving is here. People and groups across the country and here in the Carolinas are doing their part to give back.

On Wednesday, local volunteers delivered 500 turkeys to Loaves and Fishes, to make sure all their clients have a Thanksgiving meals.

“It feels great to give back,” said volunteer Melissa Martin.

The turkey donation comes as Loaves and Fishes broke down the Charlotte neighborhood data to learn how big of a food insecurity there is across the community.

Loaves and Fishes said the dream of upward mobility in Charlotte remains a dream. Loaves and Fishes were formed to provide groceries for neighbors in need, according to the organization’s website.

"For so many of these pockets, they have no hope and they face ongoing needs day after day," said Executive Director Tina Postel.

The charity organization says the need this season is up to 14 percent greater. For the first time, Loaves and Fishes know exactly where their clients live.

UNC-Chapel Hill surveyed nearly 70,000 people who receive food – getting down to the zip code and block number.

Here is what researchers found:

  • 28208 has the greatest need
  • 94 percent can’t afford balanced, healthy food
  • 69.7 percent did not eat at times from lack of money
  • Half of the clients say the money saved goes to rent and utility bills.

“Half of the people we feed are children,” Postel said.

The red parts of the map show areas of hungry children.

“We have opened four new full-sized pantries,” Postel said.

Also found in the data was that emergency food pantries are needed on college campuses including UNC Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Central Piedmont Community College.

“Our students have the same needs that they do,” said CPCC’s Dr. Jenn Marts. “Looking at our numbers today, we have served over 600 family members, CPCC students, staff and faculty.”

Hunger never takes a holiday off, now with more understanding of how to reach even more.

“Our hope is by releasing the data, we can wake up people who may not realize how big of a problem it is here in our community,” Postel said.

For more information about donating food to Loaves and Fishes, you can visit their website here.