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1.
Prev Med Rep ; 27: 101737, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740103

ABSTRACT

Food insecurity has increased dramatically in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. Many more families in the United States are turning to the charitable food system to help meet their needs. However, little is known about the policies that influence food bank donations and whether they promote healthy food donations. The purpose of this study was to explore state variation in food donation policies and secondarily to assess whether policies promoted the donation of healthy foods and beverages. We reviewed donation policies for all states in the United States and Washington, DC (hereafter "states") in fall 2020. Two reviewers independently assessed donation policies using two legal databases; we reconciled discrepancies via team discussion. We then grouped them into 10 distinct categories based on common purpose and theme. We identified 252 state policies from 51 states. Policies fell into all 10 categories. The largest category was "liability protection," with all states having a policy in this category. The second largest category was date labeling; 32 states had requirements or policies restricting the donation of past-dated foods. However, across all categories, we found that only two policies explicitly promoted the donation of healthy foods and beverages. Although all states had some policies governing food donations, few promoted healthier foods and beverages. States could encourage healthy donations through policy to help ensure that all families have access to nutritious foods and beverages.

2.
Nutrients ; 13(12)2021 Nov 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542687

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to identify changes in food distribution operations at emergency food assistance organizations (EFAOs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. EFAOs across the Houston metro area, TX (human service centers and food pantries) as well as the Houston Food Bank (HFB) participated in the qualitative study. Data were collected via individual semi-structured interviews and focus group (December 2020-February 2021), and coded using semi-structured thematic analysis. Categories were pre-identified based on the interview questions. Direct quotes supported subcategories. Directors from 18 EFAOs were interviewed; 8 HFB leadership staff participated in a focus group. Four major categories of change due to COVID-19 included new safety measures, changes in food distribution process, changes in volunteerism and staffing, and changes in amounts of food distributed. This study helps identify susceptibilities in EFAOs' food distribution chain should be addressed to manage future emergency food insecurity crises more effectively. An understanding of the changes/challenges incurred by EFAOs during the COVID-19 pandemic can inform policymakers to ensure local food distribution organizations are prepared to fill the needs during future a crisis of food insecurity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Insecurity , Pandemics , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Food Assistance , Humans , Male , Qualitative Research , Texas/epidemiology
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(23)2021 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542557

ABSTRACT

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), State governments, and school districts took unprecedented steps to mitigate the pandemic's impact on students' nutrition. To examine the effect of emergency responses on 6-year-old children's nutritional outcomes, this study analyzed longitudinal data from a national study of children's feeding practices, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children-Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 (WIC ITFPS-2). Findings include no differences in food insecurity prevalence; however, there were shifts in sources of food, with children in the post-COVID-emergency-declaration (post-ED) group consuming more dietary energy from stores and community food programs and less from restaurants and schools than children in the pre-COVID-emergency-declaration (pre-ED) group (p < 0.01 for all comparisons). Examination of within-person mean differences in 2015 Healthy Eating Index scores and nutrient intakes between ages 5 and 6 years revealed few statistically significant differences between the two groups: children in the post-ED group consumed slightly fewer vegetables (p = 0.02) and less sodium (p = 0.01) than their pre-ED peers. Findings suggest emergency efforts to maintain children's nutrition were largely successful in the early months of the pandemic. Research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which emergency efforts contributed to these findings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Child , Child, Preschool , Diet , Feeding Behavior , Female , Humans , Infant , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Curr Dev Nutr ; 5(10): nzab115, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic increased demand for emergency food assistance and has caused operational shifts in the emergency food system. OBJECTIVE: This research explored how the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the food supply of 2 food pantries. METHODS: A case study approach was applied to collect data during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food supply data were collected weekly at 2 food pantries in southwest Montana for 17 wk in 2020. Surveys and interviews were conducted with food pantry clients and staff, respectively. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were applied to analyze quantitative data. Food supply data were analyzed using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015, NOVA system, and Unprocessed Pantry Project (UP3) Framework. Thematic analysis was applied to qualitative data. RESULTS: The food boxes collected between the 2 food pantries (n = 43) had a mean (± SD) total HEI-2015 score of 76.41 ± 7.37 out of a possible score of 100. According to both the NOVA and the UP3 Framework, 23.4% of the total food distributed was ultra-processed food. Of the food distributed, 50.0% and 48.3% was fresh, unprocessed food according to NOVA and UP3 Frameworks, respectively. From staff interviews, 3 themes arose that describe the food pantry operations that experienced change during the COVID-19 pandemic, including food procurement, distribution preparation, and food distribution. Nine supporting subthemes describing the causes and consequences of the operational themes were identified. Staff perceived that the nutrient quality of the food boxes increased from food distributed previously to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas over one-third (39.4%) of food pantry clients who responded to surveys preferred the food box model. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous operational challenges within food pantries. Food pantries overcame these challenges by swiftly and effectively altering operations so as to continue to distribute nutritious food boxes to pantry clients.

5.
Front Nutr ; 8: 673158, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369688

ABSTRACT

Charitable food services, including food banks and pantries, support individual and households' food access, potentially maintaining food security and diet quality during emergencies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of food banks and pantries has increased in the US. Here we examine perceptions of food banks and food pantries and their relationship to food security and fruit and vegetable (FV) intake during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, using a statewide representative survey (n = 600) of residents of Vermont. The utilization of food pantries was more common among food insecure households and households with children. Among food insecure respondents, those who did not use a food pantry were significantly more likely to report consuming less FV during the pandemic. Further, we find respondents who are food insecure and using a food pantry report consuming more FV since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that respondents who were both food insecure and reported not using a food pantry were significantly more likely to report both a reduction in fruit consumption (b = -0.58; p = 0.001) and a reduction in vegetable consumption (b = -0.415; p = 0.012). These results indicate that these services may support food access and one important dimension of diet quality (FV intake) for at-risk populations during emergencies.

6.
Appl Econ Perspect Policy ; : e13096, 2020 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1308945

ABSTRACT

As lockdown and school closure policies were implemented in response to the coronavirus, the federal government provided funding and relaxed its rules to support emergency food provision, but not guidance on best practices for effectiveness. Accordingly, cities developed a diverse patchwork of emergency feeding programs. This article uses qualitative data to provide insight into emergency food provision developed in five cities to serve children and families. Based on our qualitative analysis, we find that the effectiveness of local approaches appears to depend on: (i) cross-sector collaboration, (ii) supply chains, and (iii) addressing gaps in service to increased risk populations.

7.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(13)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288875

ABSTRACT

Food insecurity increases with human and natural disasters. Two tools were developed to assist effective food relief in Western Australia: the Food Stress Index (similar to rental stress, predicts the likelihood of household food insecurity by geographic location) and a basic and nutritious Food Basket Recommendation (that quantifies the types and amounts of food to meet dietary recommendations for different family types). This study aims to understand and compare the processes and impact of using these tools for organisations and their clients involved in emergency food assistance and/or disaster preparedness. A multiple case-study design analysed organisation's use of the tools to assist the response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the catastrophic bushfires in Australia. Qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone and Zoom (a cloud-based video conferencing service) in July-August 2020. A purposeful sample of eight interviewees representing seven cases (government, food relief and community organisations involved in emergency food assistance and/or disaster preparedness). Three themes emerged from the analysis, (1) organisations are confident users of the tools; (2) Collaborations were "Ready to Go" and (3) Food Stress Index is a "game changer". Findings demonstrate the intrinsic value of the tools in the provision of emergency food relief under both normal circumstances and in times of increased need, i.e., COVID-19 pandemic. The study highlights the value and importance of ongoing intersectoral collaborations for food relief and food security (e.g., the Western Australian Food Relief Framework) and suggests that upscaling of the Food Stress Index and food baskets will increase the effectiveness of measures to address food insecurity in Australia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Natural Disasters , Australia , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Western Australia
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