The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people worldwide, disrupting food access, and security. To understand how food systems and security are impacted during this pandemic, an online survey was launched in Vermont from March 29 - April 12, 2020 (less than a week after the “Stay Home/Stay Safe” order). A total of 3,219 Vermonters responded with 182 providing a written answer specifically about food pantries and 828 of the respondents providing written comments to the open-ended question at the end of the survey. This brief summarizes survey findings and respondent comments about experiences with two programs during the early weeks of the pandemic: the National School Lunch Program (school meals) and food pantries. Key findings include: 1. Households that participated in school meals were significantly more likely to worry that their household would lose access to programs for food and that food will become more expensive. 2. Rural food pantry use (5.5%) was significantly higher than urban pantry use (3.7%) after COVID-19, albeit with low participation overall. 3. Respondents who participated in food pantry programs were significantly more worried about food access as it related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Bertmann, Farryl; Belarmino, Emily H.; Wentworth, Thomas; Biehl, Erin; Neff, Roni; and Niles, Meredith T., "Food Access Through School Meals and Food Pantries During COVID-19: Early Findings from Vermont" (2020). College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Publications. 22.