The Use of Charitable Food Assistance Among Low-Income Households in the United States.

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Date: Jan. 2021
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report
Length: 608 words

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Keywords Charitable food assistance; Nutritional quality; Food insecurity; SNAP; Low-income households Abstract Background About 11% of US households are food insecure, and many of those households seek charitable food assistance (CFA). However, little is understood about the nutritional composition of the diets of households receiving CFA, or the relationship between CFA and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) usage among low-income households. Objective The aim of the study was to compare the nutritional quality of foods obtained by CFA clients to those of similar nonclients. Furthermore, the study examined the timing of CFA use relative to the timing of SNAP use among CFA clients during the week. Design/participants Analyses were conducted using 2012 US Department of Agriculture National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS), which collected data for 4826 households' food acquisitions during a 7-day survey week. Sixty-seven households reported using CFAs during the survey week. Main outcomes measure The nutritional quality of food was measured by the ratios between food acquisition quantities and the US Department of Agriculture Thrifty Food Plan consumption recommendations. The date of SNAP use was compared with that of CFA use for CFA clients who were also SNAP recipients. Statistical analyses performed Propensity score matching was utilized to construct a matching sample of CFA clients and nonclients. T tests were used to compare the means of variables. Results CFA clients were more likely to be food insecure (48% vs 28%, P Conclusions CFAs provide a substantial portion of the diets of their clients and, in particular, for foods that constitute components of healthy diets. For the proportion of CFA clients who received SNAP, this study finds evidence that CFA clients relied more on CFAs when their SNAP benefits were likely to run low. Author Affiliation: (1) Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (2) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (3) Office of the Chief Economist, US Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA * Address correspondence to: Linlin Fan, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 208A Armsby Building University Park, PA 16802. Article History: Received 18 May 2019; Accepted 27 July 2020 (footnote) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. (footnote) FUNDING/SUPPORT We gratefully acknowledge financial support through Cooperative Agreement No. 58-5000-1-0051 between the University of Illinois and the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This research was also supported in part by the intramural research program of the USDA, Economic Research Service. The views expressed in this article are of the authors and should not be attributed to those of the USDA. (footnote) AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS L. Fan, C. Gundersen, and K. Baylis designed the research; L. Fan and M. Saksena conducted the research and analyzed the data; L. Fan, C. Gundersen, K. Baylis, and M. Saksena provided expertise in outcome assessment and data interpretation; L. Fan and C. Gundersen wrote the manuscript and have primary responsibility for final content; and all authors read and approved the final manuscript. Byline: Linlin Fan, PhD [lpf5158@psu.edu] (1,*), Craig Gundersen, PhD (2), Kathy Baylis, PhD (2), Michelle Saksena, PhD (3)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A648869797