Title

Winning the Hunger Game: Fighting Hunger with More than Food

Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2019

Degree Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition

First Advisor

Jessica Todd

Second Advisor

Dr. Kellie Mayfield

Third Advisor

Holly Joseph

Abstract

TOPIC OF STUDY:

A novel intervention to improve food security and decrease pantry dependency among Georgia State University students who are food insecure.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

To address food insecurity and break the pantry dependency cycle among GSU pantry students, a grant proposal will be prepared for submission to the Daniel P. Amos Family Foundation. This grant will be written for funding to implement a promising intervention based on a 2013 study conducted in Connecticut by Martin, et al.

This intervention will use an approach that differs from the traditional pantry model in three critical ways. First, pantry students will be given the freedom to choose their food from shelf stable and fresh, perishable items, allowing them to feel a sense of dignity. Second, students will meet with a Registered Dietitian (Project Manager) trained in motivational interviewing to set and track personal goals towards becoming food secure and overcoming barriers. The project manager will also provide students with personalized referrals to financial and academic resources to aid in achieving their personal and academic goals. Lastly, students will be given a 6-week Cooking Matters skills-building class, nutrition education, and gardening demonstrations to reinforce the importance of a healthy diet and nutritious dietary choices.

If successful, this program can serve as a template for pantries at other campuses by showing how students can learn to avoid relying on food pantries to achieve long-term food security and overcome any obstacles that may stand in their way. Furthermore, a significant reduction in student reliance on the Panther's Pantry would help alleviate the constant pressure the pantry experiences in keeping enough food in stock.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Panther’s Pantry must do more than just pass out food. It must evolve to provide services that address the root cause of student food insecurity. In doing so, Panther's Pantry can equip students in need with tools to win the hunger game so they can focus on academic success.

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