Exploring the Challenges and Coping Strategies in Households Relying on SNAP and Food Pantries

26 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2019

See all articles by Alison Jacknowitz

Alison Jacknowitz

American University - Kogod School of Business; American University - School of Public Affairs

Anna Amirkhanyan

American University - School of Public Affairs

Amy S. Crumbaugh

Independent

Michael Hatch

American University - Department of Public Administration and Policy

Date Written: January 14, 2019

Abstract

Food insecurity is a substantial and persistent problem in the United States. This paper explores key challenges experienced by households relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and food pantries. It also identifies strategies used by these households to cope with these challenges. Qualitative and limited quantitative data collected in two states from households using both SNAP and charitable food pantries were used for the analysis. The findings of this study provide a comprehensive picture of the broad range of challenges associated with relying on public and nonprofit nutrition assistance, particularly the prevalence of adverse health and disability affecting households. Approximately 60% of households identified health conditions, with diabetes and cardiovascular disease being the most commonly cited. Households also experienced challenges with employment, living arrangements and household composition, and transportation, among others. This study also provides insight into strategies employed by households to surmount these obstacles. Illuminating the range of personal and family hardships and the coping strategies of vulnerable populations can inform discussion of potential changes in the design and delivery of public and nonprofit food assistance programs to help alleviate stressors in vulnerable households.

Keywords: Food Pantries; Food Insecurity; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Household Challenges; Coping Strategies; Health Conditions

Suggested Citation

Jacknowitz, Alison and Amirkhanyan, Anna and Crumbaugh, Amy S. and Hatch, Michael, Exploring the Challenges and Coping Strategies in Households Relying on SNAP and Food Pantries (January 14, 2019). American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 3315591. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3315591 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3315591

Alison Jacknowitz (Contact Author)

American University - Kogod School of Business ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20816-8044
United States

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Anna Amirkhanyan

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Amy S. Crumbaugh

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Michael Hatch

American University - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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