Food insecurity, which is the state of being without access to a culturally acceptable and nutritionally adequate diet, affects approximately 14% of Americans (Gottlieb & Fisher, 1996; Coleman-Jensen, Gregory, & Rabbit, 2015). Food insecurity in the United States has resulted in a nationwide epidemic of diet-related diseases that amounts to an estimated $240 billion each year in health costs, disproportionately affecting low-income communities of color (Giménez & Wang, 2011). In Duluth, Minnesota, food insecurity affects approximately 20% of households. The Duluth-based nonprofit organization, Chum, addresses food insecurity by providing core social safety net programs, such as emergency shelter, food, and advocacy, to over 7,000 hungry, homeless, and low-income people each year. Chum is composed of people of faith working together to provide basic necessities, foster stable lives, and organize for a just and compassionate community. Chum provides services to food insecure people in Duluth in a variety of ways, such as: 1) the three Chum food shelves that provide short-term (5-day) food bundles to clients on a monthly basis; 2) Fair Food Access Lincoln Park; 3) Nutrition education through SNAP ED at the Steve O’Neil Apartment (SONA); and 4) Chum serves multiple hot meals a day at its homeless shelter and emergency drop-in center. With the support of a student research assistance grant provided by the Community Assistantship Program, a program of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), Fighting Food Insecurity in Duluth: Evaluating the Efficacy of Chum's Food Shelves, was conducted May 23-August 21, 2016. The purpose of this study was to better understand the efficacy of Chum’s various efforts to address food insecurity and create data, programming, and participant input to help unify Chum’s disparate projects. Potential participants were recruited from Chum’s three food shelf locations: Downtown, Westside, and Lakeside. One hundred and three participants completed a 36-item survey, and an additional 35 individuals participated in a 21-question interview. Both the survey and interview assessed participants’ satisfaction with Chum, their experiences with food insecurity, and how Chum can improve its programming to comprehensively address food access for its service population.
Prepared in partnership with Chum by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
Fighting Food Insecurity in Duluth: Evaluating the Efficacy of Chum's Food Shelves.
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