The Institute conducts research to identify best-practices to reduce food insecurity locally and nationally that can be promoted throughout the charitable food system.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON FOOD INSECURITY
The Institute participates in the National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT), a national collaboration of researchers committed to rigorous, comparative, and timely food access research during the time of COVID. Our latest survey from April and May 2021 reached over 1,000 low-income households and people of color to reach those most at risk for food insecurity and job disruptions during COVID.
Results showed an increase of food insecurity among households with children (41% in the year before COVID to 44% since COVID) and greater food insecurity amongst communities of color (40% of people of color in the state were food insecure compared to 24% of white residents).
We also found:
70% of people coming to the drive-through distribution have never use a food pantry before the COVID-19 crisis.
69% said they don’t want to rely on a food pantry because they want to support themselves.
42% say they would feel embarrassed to use a food pantry.
More can be done to meet this need with the continuation of funding for federal and state assistance and a targeted expansion of food programs to our most vulnerable neighbors. All food pantry and meal programs can take steps to expand outreach, reduce the stigma of seeking help, create a welcoming environment for all visitors, and promote personal dignity and empowerment in their pantries.
Food Bank Health Care Partnerships to Reduce Food Insecurity:
There is a strong link between health and hunger: people experiencing food insecurity have an increased risk for chronic diseases and mental health challenges. The Institute is partnering with Feeding America to produce an evidence review exploring partnerships between food banks and health care providers that seek to increase food security, improve diet quality, and improve health outcomes. Findings from the evidence review will be shared across Feeding America’s network in early 2021 to encourage food banks to embrace opportunities to partner with health care systems in their communities.