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MSU survey shows some families struggle to put food on the table due to COVID-19

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - According to a recent survey from Michigan State University, one in eight Michiganders face food insecurity and food banks are seeing more people in need.

MSU surveyed two thousand Americans on food access and food insecurity. Results show 31% of Americans say that the pandemic affected their access to food. 53% said they have fewer financial resources as a result of the pandemic. MSU researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum says that the wide spread impact of COVID-19 continues to trickle down into the food system.

“The pandemic affected supply chains and prices so we’re seeing higher prices on things like food and energy. So the amount we had allocated to a certain budget is suddenly not as available for food,” said Kirshenbaum.

Researchers say limited access to transportation played a role in food insecurity. 31% of people surveyed use government assistance programs like S.N.A.P.

“Food insecurity is a product of the fact that people don’t have enough access to food not just because of low income but transportation. There are children in our own elementary schools, there are families that just cant make ends meet in a given month and what we can do is find programs that support them without placing a stigma or shame on asking for help,” said Kirshenbaum.

Kirshenbaum says this survey shows that COVID-19 has also led some people to change the way they shop for food.

“About 50 percent say they’re storing more food at home and taking fewer trips to the store. I think a lot of us felt uncomfortable leaving our homes and looking to spend less time in big public places,” said Kirshenbaum.

She says the best way to help is to get involved.

“Call your local food bank. What I hear over and over is that they have no shortages of help on Thanksgiving or Christmas but people need food all year,” said Kirshenbaum.

Researchers say they plan to conduct another poll in the Fall of 2022 to see how food disparities are impacted in the coming months.

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