Date of Graduation

Fall 8-16-2017

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dru Bhattacharya


Food insecurity is a significant public health issue in the United States, and families living in affluent communities are at an increased risk due to the high cost of living. The impact of charitable community-based programs on childhood food insecurity remains under-evaluated. Researchers at Stanford University conducted an evaluation of a unique summer lunch program in Mountain View, California to evaluate how the model is addressing childhood food insecurity in the community and to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of families with children. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine the program across three sites, each chosen due to the high volume of children in attendance during the summer months and ability to be classified as “open” sites. Over a five-week data collection period, adult participants were recruited to complete an anonymous survey to determine demographic data, screen for risk of household food insecurity, and assess program utilization. Additionally, anonymous semi-structured interviews were performed to elicit an in-depth examination of the survey domains and of perceptions of the program and of food insecurity in the community. Of the survey participants (n=280), only 25% were screened as at-risk for food insecurity. The majority of food insecure participants were Latino/Hispanic (41%) and only attended the program 1-2 days each week (77%). Despite low participation by the target population the interview participants noted common themes of high rates of food insecurity in the community attributed to the high cost of living. These findings are consistent with previous research noting difficulties reaching food insecure children over the summer months due to a variety of barriers. Based on the qualitative and quantitative feedback, program stakeholders have noted they will continue expanding and evolving the program model over subsequent summers.

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