Date of Award

Spring 2021


Amy B. Trubek, Ph.D.

Teresa Mares, Ph.D.

Emily Belarmino Ph.D.

Project Description

The 2020 pandemic and economic crisis showcased the fragility of the American food system. In the months of quarantine and lockdowns, a growing number of Americans searched for ways to feed themselves and their families. Community-based and volunteer-supported feeding programs worked to bridge the divide between the hungry and their next meal. In many cases, these programs rely on an unpaid workforce and donations – of time, food, and facilities. With limited resources, volunteer-led programs often lack centralized training options; this guidebook seeks to fill that void. This project is a streamlined, introductory-level guide for volunteers and community members working to feed their neighbors through free meal services. The final product offers as a starting point for anti-hunger networks to draw from as they empower those they serve. More than a Meal: A resource for communities seeking food sovereignty within the charitable food system is an educational resource that focuses on advocacy, nutrition, food and kitchen safety, and how feeding programs working within the charitable food system can and should strive for food sovereignty.

This guidebook's development unfolded with rural New England in mind, yet it is adaptable to groups outside of this region. The nutrition and food safety sections are rooted in the USDA's guidelines and apply to most people’s dietary needs. Overall, the recommendations and information provided are a snapshot of what it takes for communities to reach food sovereignty through the charitable food system. Future work needs to be done to address social justice, socioeconomic disparities, and limit the impacts of climate change on society as a whole.

Document Type