GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Feeding America says one in seven people in the United States struggles with hunger.
That translates to 48 million people who do not know where their next meal is going to come from. More than 15 million of those people are under the age of 18.
One company started by an ECU grad is taking the struggle into its own hands; to do their half and help feed kids in North Carolina.
9 On Your Side takes a look at the fashion that feeds in this week’s Positively Carolina.
Half United is a social conscious accessories company. For every product that you purchase, you give seven meals to a child in need.
Half United co-founder Carmin Black knew she wanted to do something bigger that combined her love of fashion and philanthropy.
“My brother and I started Half United in 2009 and I was only 2 years removed from graduating from ECU,” explained Carmin Black, Half United co-founder.
Half is focused on hunger, a growing epidemic in the United States.
Black said they chose this mission because everyone knows what it feels like to be hungry, “We can all grasp what that means and how seven meals, even in our own lives, would help us stay alive.”
The company feeds people in Cambodia, Fiji, Liberia, but mostly in America with a laser focus on North Carolina. This precision is purposeful with a goal of starting within and working outwards.
“It was really important for us to feed children, first and foremost, in our own backyard and then look abroad to these developing nations where people are often times very much in need in comparison to the way that we live in the United States,” said Black.
In the last seven years, Half United has provided more than 500,000 meals. The impact is immediate but lasting and translates into much more than food.
“We’ve seen lives being changed,” said Black. “We’ve seen children that are now looking at their lives from a new perspective because just the little bit of aid we’ve been able to provide is filling them with hope.”
So why purchase a Half United product instead of simply donating the money or food? Black said they hope the symbols they sell start conversations that create a movement.
“When you buy one of our products, you walk away with a reminder of what you’ve done,” she said. “You’re wearing a product, being reminded, ‘Wow, I gave seven meals to a child and potentially somebody that lives down the street from me’.”
Half United works with multiple agencies and schools in the state, including the Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina. If you want to learn how you can do your half, click here.