Courtesy of Foodshare

A survey from Connecticut Foodshare’s Institute for Hunger Research and Solutions found that people of color experienced higher rates of food insecurity and job disruptions than their white counterparts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey of 1,000 households concluded that efforts must be made to expand food programs in areas most in need. 

The survey conducted in April and May found increased food insecurity among households with children — jumping from 41% before the pandemic to 44% since COVID-19. 

Households with single parents experienced more food insecurity, 47 percent, a year since before COVID, than previously at 42 percent. 

Job disruption affected 50 percent of households – up from 40 percent in the year before COVID – while 22 percent of households were food insecure without a job disruption. 

The report also found that people were using different strategies to access food during the pandemic – such as purchasing foods with a longer shelf life and going to the grocery store less (due to possible exposure to the virus). 

Researchers said they targeted low-income households and people of color, as they are more likely to be at risk to these factors due to the pandemic. 

The study found that those of color experienced more food insecurity than their white counterparts before the pandemic started – 40% compared with 24%. A year later, that disparity persists – with 43%of people of color experiencing food insecurity opposed to 26% of white respondents. 

In addition, 32% of Connecticut residents are still experiencing a job disruption – job loss, a furlough, or a cut in hours – a year since the pandemic started.  People of color were disproportionately affected, the study finds, with 28% of white households experiencing ongoing job disruption, compared to 44% of households of people of color. 

“Although overall food insecurity rose only slightly in the year since the onset of the pandemic, it did increase for households with children, households of color, and unemployed households,” the report states. “The differing experiences during the economic recovery underline persistent disparities that leave the most vulnerable populations in need of support.”  

The report calls for continued federal and state money to help with food distribution, with expansion of food programs to the state’s most vulnerable residents, as well as outreach to get people information about where to go and reduce the stigma of needing assistance. 

The report was prepared by Abigail Orbe, a research and evaluation intern at Connecticut Foodshare, and Katie Martin, executive director of the Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions.