Date of Paper

4-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

David Roseborough

Abstract

In 2011, food insecurity affected one in six Americans. In order to achieve food security, many families turn to food pantries with options less healthy than traditional supermarkets. A survey with 32 multiple choice and short-answer questions was distributed at a food pantry in the Twin Cities area to measure food pantry usage and demographics. One hundred forty-six respondents participated in the survey. Seventy-five percent were female, with a mean age of 51, and almost half of the respondents reported having children. Just over half had someone in the home employed (either part- or full-time). Almost two-thirds of the respondents reported that at least half of their monthly groceries come from the food pantry. Nearly half of the food pantry users also receive government food assistance (SNAP—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Seventy-three percent of the respondents reported that the food pantry did not limit their ability to eat nutritiously. The findings indicate that food pantries are no longer for emergencies only. Additionally, findings suggest that clients could benefit from having access to healthy foods through SNAP. Other implications include changing the composition of food pantries (decreasing unhealthy foods and increasing produce and protein) and educating donors about the value of donating healthy foods.

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