Managing Hunger: A Diverse Perspective from a Diverse Community Open Access

Clifford, Katie (2014)

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Managing Hunger: A Diverse Perspective from a Diverse Community

By Katie M. Clifford

Background: The city of Clarkston is located in DeKalb County, GA. Clarkston is called the most diverse square mile in the U.S. and it has lived up to its name with its high refugee and immigrant population. Nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line, and there is little information available on what community members do when they do not have access to food.

Objective: The goal of this thesis was to develop a survey tool based on the Coping Strategies Index (CSI) and the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) to monitor coping strategies that are being used by community members in times of low access to food and the impact of Clarkston Community Center's Food Security Initiative on program members. This study also explores community members' perceptions of barriers and access to food in the community and their insights on these issues.

Method: Two focus group discussions were conducted (n=6) with community members to collect coping strategies that households use when they do not have access to food. Cognitive interviews (n=10) were used to validate findings in the focus group discussions and also to provide feedback on the creation of the final survey tool. A survey tool was piloted at the Cares 4 Clarkston Food Pantry (n=18), and a final product was created based on the ease of questions and participant feedback.

Results: A standard set of coping strategies was not able to be obtained; however, a survey tool was created using a hybrid form of the CSI and HFIAS. Themes from the focus group discussions and cognitive interviews indicated that the community has low access to food (and transportation to access food) and there is a lack of transparency about what programs are available in the community.

Conclusions: More research is needed in the city of Clarkston and the U.S. in terms of food security in low income communities. Particular attention needs to be paid to food pantries as they serve as a 'safe place' for people to receive help free of stigma and pantries are able to supplement households where federal assistance programs fall short.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1 Introduction and Rationale 1

1.2 Problem Statement 2

1.3 Purpose Statement 3

1.4 Objectives of the Study 3

1.5 Significance 3

1.6 Definitions of Terms 5

Chapter 2: Comprehensive Review of the Literature 6

2.1 Introduction to the Literature Review 6

2.2 Definitions of Food Security 6

2.3 Clarkston Community Center Food Security 9

Clarkston Farmers Market 10

Clarkston Community Food Co-operative 11

Caring 4 Clarkston Food Pantry 11

Clarkston Community Garden 12

2.4 Federal Assistance Programs to Address Food Insecurity in the U.S. 12

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 12

The Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children 15

National School Lunch Program 16

2.5 Community Level Programs to Address Food Insecurity in the U.S. 17

Food Banks/Food Pantries 17

Food Co-operatives 19

Farmers Markets 20

Community Gardens 20

2.6 Food Insecurity in the U.S. and in Clarkston, GA 21

2.7 Food Insecurity in the U.S. Refugee Population and in the State of Georgia 24

2.8 Tools for Measuring Food Insecurity 26

Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement 27

Household Food Insecurity Access Scale 27

Household Hunger Scale 29

Coping Strategies Index 30

Chapter 3: Methodology 33

3.1 Introduction 33

3.2 Population and Sample 33

3.3 Research Design 34

3.4 Procedures 35

Focus Group Discussions 35

Cognitive Interviews 36

Pilot Survey 36

3.5 Instruments 37

3.6 Plans for Data Analysis 38

3.7 Ethical Considerations 39

3.8 Limitations and Delimitations 40

Limitations 40

Delimitations 41

Chapter 4: Results 42

4.1 Introduction 42

4.2 Summary of Results Collected 42

Focus Group Discussions 43 Cognitive Interviews 55

Pilot Survey 62

4.3 Findings that Emerged from the Process 65

4.4 Additional Findings 66

Access to Food 66

Federal Assistance Programs 67

The Pantry System 68

Chapter 5: Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations 69

5.1 Summary of Study 69

5.2 Strengths and Limitations 69

5.3 Recommendations and Public Health Implications 71

5.4 Conclusion 75

References 76

Appendices 81

Appendix 1 - Focus Group Discussion Guide 81

Appendix 2 - Cognitive Interview Guide 89

Appendix 3 - Pilot Survey Tool 98

Appendix 4 - Cares 4 Clarkston Client Questionnaire 100

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