238974 Freshplace: An innovative food pantry with promising results in Hartford, CT

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:42 AM

Katie S. Martin, PhD , CT Institute for Clinical & Translational Science, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Jeanette Goyzueta, MPH , Ethel Donaghue Tripp Ctr, UConn Health Center, Farmington, CT
May Jean Counsilman , Ethel Donaghue Tripp Center, UConn Health Center, Farmington, CT
Introduction: For over 30 years, emergency food programs have grown in number so that nearly every community in the U.S. has a food pantry, and food insecurity is at record high levels. Freshplace is an innovative fresh food pantry and resource collaborative in Hartford, CT developed by three community organizations. The goals are to address the root causes of hunger and increase food security and self sufficiency of low-income households. Methods: Randomized control study to compare the Freshplace intervention with a comparison group with repeated measures at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Main outcomes are food security and self sufficiency; additional factors include BMI and diet quality; mediating factors include social support and self efficacy. Currently 140 people have been recruited into the study, 71 in the intervention and 69 in the comparison group. Results: At baseline, 81% of households were food insecure, including almost half (49%) who experienced hunger. Most participants are in poor health; 64% have high blood pressure and 72% are overweight or obese. At 3 months, Freshplace clients had significantly improved food security scores (p<.01), and significantly higher scores than the Comparison group (p<.01). Freshplace clients also had significantly greater social support (p=.03), and significant increases in fruit and vegetable intakes (p=.04) compared to the Comparison group. No significant differences in self sufficiency at 3 months. Discussion: This is the first food pantry intervention to be evaluated. Freshplace opened in July 2010 and is showing promising results that can be disseminated to other community-based initiatives.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe characteristics of typical food pantry clients. Explain the main components of the Freshplace program as an innovative food pantry. Compare different outcomes from the Freshplace food pantry and comparison group. Discuss ways to disseminate these results to other food pantry programs.

Keywords: Food Security, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the PI for the evaluation of Freshplace, and have over 15 years of experience studying food security issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.