Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

Only 44 percent of households with children were very confident about affording food

November 18, 2020 – Families

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an analysis of fall 2020 data (August 19 – October 26) from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The author found that, nationally, only 44 percent of households with children reported that they were “very confident” about affording necessary food over the next four weeks. About 10 percent of households with children were “not at all confident.” The author estimated that between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where there was not enough to eat in the past week. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Food insecurity high among emerging adults from Minnesota

November 11, 2020 – Older Youth

New research published in Public Health Nutrition examined the impacts of COVID on emerging adults’ food insecurity (mean age = 24), and on how food security status is linked to other experiences among this population. The authors found elevated rates of food insecurity in this group, and that food insecure participants were less likely to report having fresh produce at home, were more likely to report frequent fast food consumption, and were more likely to feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Participants identified more food assistance and relief funds as important supports for their health. The study recruited participants from an earlier longitudinal study of Minnesota young people (in secondary school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in 2010 to 2018), for participation in an online survey. (Respondents were more diverse in income and racial-ethnic identity than the overall population of that region). #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Food insecurity up after relief measure wane

October 27, 2020 – Families

New research from the Urban Institute using its Coronavirus Tracking Survey finds that food insecurity increased by two percentage points between May and September, landing at 19.6 percent. The authors suggest that emergency SNAP allotments, stimulus payments, and unemployment compensation all served to keep food insecurity down through the spring and summer. Household where the respondent or their spouse or partner lost a job reported the highest rates of food insecurity, at 37 percent in September. Household food insecurity rates also remain much higher for Black adults (28.2 percent) and Hispanic/Latinx adults (30.5 percent) than for white adults (14.7 percent)—a pattern consistent throughout the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

County priorities include both economic and public health aspects in pandemic recovery

October 20, 2020 – Families

The National Association of Counties (NACo) released a new report summarizing the concerns and priorities of county leaders regarding COVID-19 recovery. While counties face diverse challenges, 64 percent counties reported that the pandemic’s health and economic impacts are of equal concern. Areas of top concern are individual and small business financial relief, disproportionate impacts on communities of color, unemployment, health impacts beyond the virus (like mental health), access to food and housing, and more federal funding programs to assist with recovery. County leaders identified a range of county needs going forward, including gap funding to make up for lost revenues, funding with fewer strings attached, improved broadband, and opportunities to share best practices among counties and to create new partnerships. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #foodsecurity

Hunger relief nonprofit uses technology to connect people with SNAP

October 15, 2020 – Families

Forbes highlights a technology-based nonprofit called mRelief that works to minimize enrollment hassle for those apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The technology includes web, voice, and text platforms that screen people for SNAP eligibility with far fewer questions than required by formal applications directly through the state. The service provides straightforward support for enrollment and retention in the programs, and in the COVID context, can reduce pressures on state and local charitable systems (like food banks) while capturing more federal dollars for eligible families. The company has served 870,000 families across all 50 states. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Mississippi Delta food relief providers share lessons learned in the pandemic

October 1, 2020 – Families

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

New Data: Millions Struggling to Eat and Pay Rent

September 23, 2020 – General

Millions of households are having serious trouble affording food and are falling behind on the rent, the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey for September 2-14 shows. Twenty-three million adults reported that their household didn’t get enough to eat, and an estimated 1 in 4 renters with children lived in a household that was behind on rent. Also, data for August show that some 35 million people — including 9 million children — either met the federal definition of “unemployed” (which understates the actual number of jobless workers) or lived with an unemployed family member, according to Census’ latest Current Population Survey. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #workforce

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

September 18, 2020 – General

The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. CBPP is able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis. The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating. Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps and the measures are also temporary. The data, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. #foodsecurity #education #racialequity #workforce

Drop in school meals raises concern about food insecure children, hurts school budgets

September 11, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Texas school districts note that they are distributing far fewer school meals during remote learning than they did before the pandemic. Houston Independent School District now serves around 30,000 meals per day, compared to their usual 250,000. Not only are fewer students receiving the meals they need, but school districts are also losing money that they would otherwise be reimbursed by the federal government for their school nutrition programs. At the beginning of September, the USDA approved extensions allowing the flexible summer meal programs to continue this fall. While this means districts can serve more children, under more flexible guidelines, many districts already had a fall plan in place that assumed the extension wouldn’t be granted. In addition, the approved extension is slated to end December 31, making meal service strategies unclear for the second half of the school year. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New ‘dark store’ retail model could support food access and businesses

September 11, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Whole Foods recently opened its first purposely online-only store in Brooklyn. This ‘dark store’ will not be open for shoppers, but instead will operate as a hub for packing online orders for delivery or pickup. Other retailers are converting existing stores into dark stores to keep up with increasing demand for online shopping and as a lifeline for stores that have been struggling. Although demand for online shopping options has been growing, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Expanded online shopping and delivery gives consumers not only convenience but critical food access, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot shop in person during the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New food relief initiative in Vermont successful in supporting rural communities

September 8, 2020 – Families

In early August, Vermont started a food relief initiative called Vermont Everyone Eats! which pays local restaurants to supply meals to residents in need. Volunteers help hand out meals to those in need, who line up at drive-through style distribution sites. The program was first rolled out in the town of Brattleboro, where about 650 meals are provided per day. The program was started using CARES Act funds and they are considering expanding to other rural communities. Ten percent of the food that restaurants prepare must be from local farms, which helps support those businesses as well. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural