Food Access Through School Meals and Food Pantries During COVID-19: Early Findings from Vermont


The foundation of this article built around results from a survey conducted in late-March/early-April. There were 3,219 total responses and over 828 additional comments. The purpose was to receive the opinions of kids and adults who are utilizing the federal services to support food insecurity. The article is full of great quotes from the minds of the very customers I am trying to help. 

As it turns out pre-filled bags of food can be disappointing for the customer. Although a vast majority of people are thankful to receive food, many still complained about the lack of choice. 

“They prepack everything and with food allergies I can’t eat most of what they give me, so I end up giving it away.” 

~Survey Respondent

For my purposes, prefilled bags are a product that the customer is receiving. Some food pantries have done this method since before COVID-19, but now it is especially common. Understanding the pros and cons of this from the user’s perspective will help me to create a better overall system. 

For example, according to the survey, multiple respondents mentioned that their food selection experience changed since the pandemic. More research should be conducted to see how this these changes will alter post-pandemic experiences.