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MSU survey: COVID pandemic impacted a third of Americans' access to food

two bags of groceries in brown paper bags sitting on a wooden floor.
Maria Lin Kim
MSU’s Food Literacy and Engagement Poll found 31% of those surveyed said the pandemic affected their access to food.

A third of Americans report impacted access to food during the pandemic. That’s according to a new survey from Michigan State University.

In the last year and a half, millions of Americans lost their jobs and income, driving many to cut down on how much they regularly spend on food.

MSU’s Food Literacy and Engagement Poll surveyed just over 2,000 Americans. It found 31% of those surveyed said the pandemic affected their access to food.

MSU researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum co-directs the survey. She said the number of individuals and families going without enough food to eat is at a staggering number.

“Food insecurity means that seven days a week, they might not have always had enough calories to get through their day, they might have gone to bed hungry, they might have wanted to be able to afford more food than they could for their household,” Kirshenbaum said.

Kirshenbaum said food insecurity isn’t something new but the issue has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We saw a tremendous amount of people leave the workforce, we saw changes in the supply chain, we saw prices go up with food," she said. "And suddenly the situation is a lot more complex and a lot more challenging for people who had already been, been struggling.”

Kirshenbaum said in some cases parents are restricting their food intake to ensure their children have enough to eat.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.
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