Attitudes and Behaviors of Food Pantry Directors and Perceived Needs and Wants of Food Pantry Clients Open Access

Cahill, Caroline Rose (2015)

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Introduction: The Choosing Healthy Options Program (CHOP) is a simple food ranking tool that has recently been adopted by the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) to aid partner agencies (PA) in their ordering process. CHOP uses a simple algorithm that designates a 1 (choose frequently), 2 (moderately), or 3 (infrequently) to foods based on nutrient profiles. The objectives were two-fold: first, to quantitatively assess the nutritional quality of ACFB PA food orders before and after implementation of CHOP, and second, to understand the factors that influence PA food ordering process to meet client food preferences and needs.

Methods: Food orders of 402 PA in Atlanta and northwest Georgia were analyzed for the six weeks prior to and following CHOP implementation. Pounds of ordered food by CHOP category and subcategories (e.g., meat, canned vegetables) were analyzed using paired t-tests. Additionally, 9 PA participated in in-depth interviews. In-depth interviews were conducted and analyzed to further understand purchasing motivations, impact of CHOP, client feedback mechanisms, and perceptions of clients' needs

Results: Overall, agencies increased their percentage of CHOP 1 foods by nearly 14% during the study period. Consistent with PA interview data of clients requesting more meat, PAs increased their pounds of CHOP 1 Meat, though PAs also increased their pounds of CHOP 3 Meat. PAs indicated that CHOP was useful for deciding between food items of the same subcategory that had differing CHOP rankings (i.e., CHOP 2 canned vegetable vs. CHOP 3 canned vegetable). Additionally, only three PAs reported gathering client preference information.

Conclusions: Agencies found CHOP helpful in their ordering process; however, at the agency level, more communication is needed between the client and the provider to offer clients a more autonomous experience.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures. ix

Chapter 1: Introduction. 1

1.1 Purpose Statement. 2

1.2 Objectives. 2

1.3 Significance. 2

Chapter 2: Comprehensive Review of the Literature. 4

2.1 Food Insecurity in the United States. 5

2.1.1 Definitions of Food Insecurity. 5

2.1.2 Measurements of Food Insecurity. 5

2.1.3 Characteristics of the Food Insecure.. 6

2.1.4 Health Outcomes of Food Insecurity. 7

2.2 Federal and State Nutrition Assistance Programs. 8

2.2.1 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 8

2.2.2 The Special Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children. 9

2.2.3 The National School Lunch Program. 10

2.2.4 State-Level Barriers to Federally Subsidized Food Assistance. 10

2.3 The Private Food Assistance Network. 12

2.3.1 The Need for Nutritious Foods in the Feeding America Network. 14

2.3.2 Food Bank-Based Nutrition Initiatives. 15

2.3.3 Foods Available Through Food Pantries and Short-Term Nutrition Initiatives. 17

2.4 Food Security in the State of Georgia. 19

2.4.1 Atlanta Community Food Bank's Response to Hunger. 20

2.4.2 Atlanta Community Food Bank's Nutrition Initiative: the Choosing Healthy Options Program. 22

2.5 References. 24

2.6 Figures. 30

Chapter 3: Manuscript. 32

3.1 Contribution of Student. 33

3.2 Abstract. 34

3.3 Introduction. 35

3.4 Methods. 37

3.5 Results. 38

3.5.1 Quantitative Results. 38

3.5.2 Qualitative Results. 40

3.6 Discussion. 54

3.6.1 Discussion. 54

3.6.2 Limitations. 56

3.6.3 Conclusion. 57

3.7 Manuscript References. 58

3.8 Tables and Figures. 61

Chapter 4: Conclusion and Recommendations. 65

References. 69

Appendix 1: Sample ACFB eHarvest Shopping List. 70

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