Project Bread is committed to listening and learning from the communities we serve, aiming to reduce bias rather than replicate it. Understanding food insecurity — who it impacts, how it impacts, and how people access help — is critical to inform equitable policy priorities and our programmatic response.
We recognize and uphold the right of marginalized communities to have the resources they need to break down barriers and inform the best way to meet their own needs.
Through our research, we aim to better understand the barriers that individuals and communities face to access food and utilizing existing solutions, so we can better meet their needs.
In March 2020, Massachusetts shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19 and food insecurity doubled. While this surge has impacted residents of all backgrounds, it has disproportionately impacted minority households, representing the continuation of a trend that pre-dates the pandemic.
One proven resource in helping to alleviate food insecurity is the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. State and federal actions to remove barriers and strengthen this program during the pandemic have helped many people access and afford food.
Indications that food insecurity is beginning to decline, with SNAP possibly having a role, brings urgency to our research to measure SNAP awareness, understand the perceptions that may impact a person’s willingness to enroll in the program, and learn about the experiences of residents when using SNAP benefits.
We have used these findings to inform our recommendations to dismantle any barriers that persist between those eligible but not enrolled, that may contribute to SNAP’s underutilization.
We began our latest research in October 2019 in an effort to better understand how significant — or insignificant — a role systemic barriers, institutional racism, and discrimination played into a community’s experience of food insecurity.
As we synthesize the findings of this study, it is impossible not to apply them to the intersecting ways in which the public health and economic climate have been so drastically impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.