for Middlesex Coalition for Children
by Nina Gerona, Eva Jaskoviak, Geneva Jonathan, and Morgan Scribner
The Middlesex Coalition for Children recruited the services of four Wesleyan students to research issues related to food security and access of Middletown households with children. The research goals were to: (1) measure the food security of households with children under the age of 18; (2) evaluate the use of federal and local food programs; (3) assess factors that limit access to food such as income and transportation. In 2005, a similar report, Food Security and Hunger Among Middletown Households with Children, was completed using telephone interviews and self-administered surveys. This 2015 study serves as a comparison to the 2005 study, reporting on how food trends have changed over the past decade. This study found that food insecurity among Middletown households with children has doubled in the past ten years, and the recent addition of the marginally food secure category by the USDA highlights that many households could be on the cusp of food insecurity. Income is the strongest indicator of a household’s food security status. Moreover, food insecure parents attempt to shield their children from the effects of food insecurity by reducing the quality and size of their meals first, but this becomes increasingly difficult as household income approaches the poverty line. We also found federal and local food aid programs are helping to reduce food insecurity, yet many programs have also seen a decline in use by food insecure families in the past ten years.