Economic issues Associated with the population of Food Pantries
Providing a week worth of groceries can be nearly impossible for a person or a family that depends on monthly government financial assistance. Those who rely on the monthly allotment usually only get a portion on benefits in which they have to pay out for living and other expenses leaving them with barely any money to survive on for the rest of the month. A study by Second Harvest (1998), on of the country’s largest private hunger relief agencies, suggests that cutbacks in government welfare and food stamp program, low paying jobs, and rising medical and child care expenses contribute to an increase in food insecurity in the United States. Many clients utilizing food pantries are not aware that they may be eligible for SNAP (formerly food stamps) or other government supplemental resources. These resources give clients the resources to provide food and other important staples needed to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. (Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., & Singh, A., 2013) In 2012, 59.4 percent of food insecure households participated in one of three major Federal food assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamp program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infant and children. The Special Needs of Clients using Food Pantries
When accepting donations of unprepared food items, food pantries must consider the special health needs of the population it serves. Keeping in mind that nutritious meals are a key factor in a client’s health, food pantries strive to provide clients with meals that meet the guidelines of the National Food Pyramid Guide.
(Seligman, Laraia, and Kushel, 2009) Lack of access to a nutritious and adequate food supply has implications not only for the development of physical and mental disease, but also behaviors and social skills. Food insecurity is associated with a range of chronic illnesses such as, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, and various Cardio Vascular risks.
The Client Process of Food Pantries
Applying for assistance from a food pantry is designed to be fast and discreet. This way, clients may receive help the same day they apply. All clients must complete the required intake process and provide documents regarding proof of income, identity of self and others in household, and residence. Upon the completion of the intake process, clients are given a 3 day supply of food based on the size of their household. Clients who do not receive SNAP (formerly food stamps) at the time of intake are required to apply for benefits in order to continue receiving supplemental support. (Berner, M., Ozer,T., &