Improving Food Security to Increase Resiliency to COVID-19 for Latinx Populations

Project Theme(s): 
Diversity & Affordability
Food & Dining
Personal Wellbeing

This project team took on the problem of food insecurity among Durham’s Latinx residents, one in five of whom said they sometimes skipped or limited their meals. In the context of the pandemic, access to sufficient nutritious food took on even greater importance. Working with Root Causes, an organization run by Duke medical students, the team researched strategies for adapting to COVID-19, such as modes of contactless food delivery. Using surveys and deidentified medical records, team members assessed the impact of Root Causes’ Fresh Produce Program on patient health and food security amid pandemic conditions. Through interviews and a comparative study of food redistribution organizations, the team identified (and continues to identify) local and global best practices in addressing food insecurity as part of the response to the pandemic.

Members of the team have continued their work during the summer of 2021, facilitating a Community Consultation Studio with Triangle area food security organizations in conjunction with Duke’s CTSI Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI). Partnering with the Duke Campus Farm, the team also expanded the Fresh Produce Program to around 150 households in Durham, including many high-need Latinx families. Deliveries included fresh food as well as masks, household essentials and educational materials.

Root Causes
Duke Campus Farm
Additional Information/Links:
Elana Horwitz
Hannah Malian
Catarina Martinez Viviana Martinez-Bianchi
Project Team: 
Tamar Chukrun
Winston Liu
Sunny Liu
Nidhila Masha
Natalie Wickenheisser
Willis Wong
Julian Xie
Elizabeth Berenguer
Shreyas Hallur
Nathan Heffernan
Emma Herold
Eliaijah Lapay
Nayoon Lee
Karina Moreno
Faraan Rahim
Ana Trejo
Neha Vyas
Kathleen Waeldner
Florence Zhao
food insecurity
program review
community outreach
diversity in sustainability