Distribution of fresh foods in food pantries: challenges and opportunities in Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication date: Jul 07, 2023

The charitable food system distributes free food to clients across the U. S., but many nutrition and health-focused efforts encounter barriers to success, which were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the current study was to understand barriers and facilitators to distributing nutritious, fresh foods in food pantries across Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-nine pantry representatives participated in focus groups in October 2021. A codebook was created based on relevant literature, stakeholder interests, and an initial review of the recordings. Transcripts of each group were coded and analyzed using a basic interpretive approach. Pantries distribution of fresh foods was impacted by community partners, food bank policies and practices, and the quality of the donated fresh foods. Physical constraints of pantries limit fresh food storage capacity. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified stressors in the charitable food system which highlighted how community partners might improve fresh food distribution. Focus groups with food pantry representatives across Illinois provided key insights that can inform future efforts to facilitate fresh food distribution in the charitable food system. Future studies should evaluate the effects of the suggested initiatives and changes at the food pantry, food bank, and policy levels.

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Concepts Keywords
Codebook Focus groups
Illinois Food insecurity
Nutrition Food storage
Nutritious Food supply


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
disease IDO quality
disease VO storage
pathway REACTOME Reproduction
disease VO report
disease VO USA
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
drug DRUGBANK Methylergometrine
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
drug DRUGBANK Ademetionine
disease VO protocol
disease VO monthly
disease VO age
drug DRUGBANK Methionine
disease IDO site
disease VO mouth
disease VO frequency
disease MESH emergency
disease IDO facility
disease VO time
disease VO Thing
disease VO population
drug DRUGBANK Indoleacetic acid
disease VO USDA
disease VO Tax
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
disease MESH unemployment
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
drug DRUGBANK Gold
drug DRUGBANK Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate
disease MESH Chronic condition
drug DRUGBANK Diethylstilbestrol
drug DRUGBANK Amber
drug DRUGBANK Methyl isocyanate

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