Describing Hunger-related Outcomes in a Community Kitchen located in the Pacific Northwest, United States
Mayer, Kala A.
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Hunger exists in the United States. Hunger is associated with poor health outcomes across the lifespan such as failure to thrive, obesity, anxiety and depression (Harper, 2014; Lee et al., 2012). Community kitchens (CK) are self-help/mutual aid groups that aim to address issues of hunger by collective participation in the obtainment, preparation, and often consumption of food (Tarasuk & Reynolds, 1999, p.13). There is a paucity of research on community kitchen (CK) initiatives in the United States. This study sought to identify and describe hunger-related community kitchen participant outcomes in a community kitchen located in the Pacific Northwest, United States that served participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and local community members. Major findings support and offer additional insights into what is known about community kitchen outcomes to date in other countries. In addition, CK member descriptions expanded current definitions of quantitative, qualitative, social and psychological dimensions of hunger. Hunger outcomes were described by CK members as occurring on multiple ecological levels. The potential of community kitchens in reaching additional groups in the United States vulnerable to hunger will rest on outside support and recognition of the important work they continue to do.
- Health services