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Improving Health while Alleviating Hunger: Best Practices of a Successful Hunger Relief Organization

Improving Health while Alleviating Hunger: Best Practices of a Successful Hunger Relief Organization

Current Developments in Nutrition 2(9): Nzy057

Food insecurity affects millions each year in the United States. Hunger relief organizations work to reduce hunger and food insecurity; however, the foods they provide are often unhealthy. The objective of this article is to document the policy, systems, and environmental changes that Samaritan Community Center made to their programs in order to better serve Washington County and Benton County, Arkansas. With the use of a case-study approach, researchers held 17 meetings with key members of the organization and conducted >30 h of observations to document policy, systems, and environmental changes and best practices for implementing those changes. Researchers identified emergent themes and grouped best practices in the following categories: 1) removing stigma and empowering clients, 2) incremental steps to increase access to healthy foods, 3) embracing multiculturalism, 4) donation policies and procurement, 5) collaboration is key, 6) organizational culture, and 7) challenges and resolutions. Samaritan Community Center has successfully implemented and adopted new programs and practices in order to improve the health of their clients. To our knowledge, this is the first case study to document best practices for making policy, systems, and environmental changes by a hunger relief organization to improve the nutritional quality of foods provided to their clients.

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Accession: 065814382

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PMID: 30191200

DOI: 10.1093/cdn/nzy057

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