Impact of food rescue nutrition
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Food insecurity affects 13.4% of Americans, although 30-40% of food is deposited in landfills. Food rescue nutrition is the process of redistribution of surplus food to the low-income. This research consists of four studies. In study 1 and 2, the extent of involvement and motivations of organizations and volunteers in food rescue nutrition were documented. In study 1, food rescue nutrition survey was developed, validated and tested to obtain information from 100 organizations in eight Southwestern states. The organizations donated an average of 2 million kg of food/month to 41,734 clients. These agencies were dependent on an average of eight workers and 3,081 volunteers. Challenges reported were the reduction of food portions and turning away clients due to lack of resources. In study 2, the Motivations to Volunteer Scale was created to measure motivations to volunteer in food rescue nutrition, and validated in 40 adults, then tested in 300 individuals. This newly developed scale was documented to be a valid tool (mean score = 9.15 ± 0.17), and consisted of four factors: requirement, career improvement, social life and altruism. Study 3 assessed the impact of food donations on diet quality and nutritional status of 222 clients of a soup kitchen and food pantry. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, food frequency questionnaire and list of food donations. The food pantry donations supplemented the total diet with ≥ 50% of the client's daily needs of energy, macronutrients, vitamins B₆ and B₁₂, phosphorus, copper and selenium. The total diet of these clients also met the 2015 United States Dietary Guidelines for refined grains, fruits, vegetables and meat, but not for whole grains and dairy foods. Study 4 was similar to study 3, but included clients of a soup kitchen. Dietary intake of these participants was much poorer than those of the food pantry, and 95% were homeless. The soup kitchen meal lacked vegetables and meat; nonetheless, it improved total diet quality by 10%. Thus, organizations and volunteers were highly involved in food rescue nutrition. Furthermore, food donations from the food pantry and soup kitchen improved nutritional status and diet quality of the clients.