Exploring the Challenges and Coping Strategies in Households Relying on SNAP and Food Pantries
26 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 14, 2019
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
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