A new publication posted through the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi describes findings from 33 phone interviews of food pantry and charitable food organization representatives in the Mississippi Delta region. The authors suggest that barriers to providing adequate food assistance are important, but that those barriers are not specific to food providers. Challenges include limited quantities of PPE, widespread job and income loss in the community, lack of adequate mental health support in the community, concern about sustainable operations after federal relief programs end, loss of supports usually provided through schools, and general challenges of rural infrastructure. The providers identified the importance of building on existing networks to increase “visibility and effectiveness” of social service agencies, expanding internet access by siting computers with Wi-Fi for (safe) public use, and establishing alternate food sourcing methods, including through direct-from-farm and online models to reduce transportation barriers for distribution and consumer purchase. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #mentalhealth #rural
Mississippi Delta food relief providers share lessons learned in the pandemic
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