Food Insecurity Pandemic Survey Framingham Massachusetts Mass Inc

BOSTON – Thousands of Massachusetts families in more than a dozen communities have experienced food insecurity over the past year, despite expanded assistance programs rolled out during the pandemic, according to a new survey.

The MassINC survey group interviewed 10,650 parents and guardians in 14 school districts, most of which are in cities, and found that 47% of respondents faced low to very low food security at some point during the school years. upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pollsters contacted families in Chelsea, Lawrence, Fall River, Malden, Chicopee, Pittsfield, Everett, North Adams, Brockton, Framingham, Greenfield, Methuen, Attleboro and Dartmouth. Ten of these 14 districts had more than a third of respondents reporting food insecurity.

Of all the households surveyed, 12% said they “often” run out of food and have no money to get more, while 37% said they “sometimes” experience this problem. About a quarter of respondents said that they or other members of their household reduced the size of their meals or skipped meals at some point in the past year because they did not have them. means of nourishment.

More than 8,800 have received Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, a COVID-era program providing money to families to purchase meals as schools were closed due to the pandemic. Ninety-four percent said P-EBT was “very helpful”.

While many families surveyed were likely qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, only about a third of respondents said they had received benefits from this program during the pandemic. Many said they didn’t know the income cutoffs were as high as they were or that families could use both P-EBT and SNAP.

“The level of need we have seen shows that food insecurity is a constant concern even as the worst of the pandemic passes,” MassINC polling group chairman Steve Koczela said in a statement. “The large number of respondents that we have reached for this survey, over 10,000 households, allows policy makers at national and local levels to respond in a very nuanced way.”

The survey ran from April 9 to May 30, including when it was a pilot survey in Chelsea Public Schools, SMS and email to a web survey with options in English, Spanish , Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Haitian Creole, Arabic and Chinese available. It was sponsored by the Shah Family Foundation.

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