March is National Nutrition Month and we’re publishing a series of blog posts that focus on nutrition within our networks. You can also learn about our programs here.

Hunger in America 2014, a national study with local findings, documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Vermont Foodbank – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes.

Click here to read the full report and key findings.

This is an excerpt from the study relating to the coping strategies Vermont Foodbank clients use to obtain sufficient food:

“The use of charitable food assistance is a critical resource for clients; many clients incorporate assistance received through food banks into their overall monthly strategy for obtaining food. Among client households served by the Vermont Foodbank (see table 11):

  • 51 percent plan to get food on a regular basis; and
  • 49 percent wait to come until they run out of food.

Hunger in America Client Strategies“Unfortunately, food bank programs may not meet all the food needs of their clients. Among client households, many report desiring items that they do not usually get from food programs (see figure 17).

Hunger in America Top Three

“These unmet needs may lead households to look for other ways to get enough food. When faced with the threat of food insecurity, individuals are forced to engage in various coping strategies that range from relatively small changes in eating practices to extreme changes. Coping strategies are immediate responses to avoid hunger and its consequences and the Client Survey probed about some of these strategies. Client households report using a variety of coping strategies during the past year (30). The two most commonly reported strategies are indicated below. Among
client households:

  • 72 percent report ‘Purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food’ as the most common strategy; and
  • 58 percent report ‘Purchasing food in dented or damaged packages’ as the second most common strategy.

Hunger in America Coping Strategies

“Most households are employing multiple coping strategies, in addition to seeking federal or charitable food assistance, to try to secure enough food, demonstrating that they are expending great effort to piece together solutions to reduce the likelihood of hunger in their households. The local food bank is a vital component of how clients cope. The Vermont Foodbank serves a diverse population of vulnerable households through direct food provision as well as nutrition and program assistance. Using staff and volunteer labor, the agencies and programs affiliated with the Vermont Foodbank help fight hunger and improve the well-being of households facing a host of employment, health, and other challenges.”

Read the full report, or county-level reports, here.

Your support of the Vermont Foodbank make a difference. $1 can help us provide 3 meals to a neighbor in need. Please consider making a donation today.


(30) Clients were asked about “expiration date” on the survey, which they may have interpreted as either the sell-by date or the best-by date since either can be displayed on products.