Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Committee Member

Julie K. Northcutt, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Michelle Parisi

Committee Member

Rose Martinez-Dawson

Committee Member

Paul Dawson

Abstract

According to the USDA, food insecurity or the inadequate access to a sufficient amount of nutritious food, affects over 12.3 percent of the U.S. population including more than 680,000 South Carolinians (USDA, 2017a). These individuals find some relief from food banks and food pantries that provide meals, groceries and services to individuals experiencing hunger, poverty, food insecurity and inadequate nutritional intake. Because food banks and pantries operate on limited budgets, they rely heavily on volunteers to perform numerous activities such as handling, sorting and distributing food. For this reason, food safety education of volunteers is critical in minimizing foodborne illness among food bank and pantry clients. Nutrition education is less prevalent among volunteers at food banks and pantries, but it is emerging as a successful intervention for improving client health and food insecurity. A study was conducted to determine the nutrition and food safety literacy among supervisors and volunteers working in food banks and pantries in South Carolina. A survey of food pantry supervisors was administered to characterize South Carolina food pantries and to identify gaps in nutrition and food safety knowledge. Survey information was then used to create a series of food safety and nutrition education modules for food pantry volunteers. Pre and post-test scores of volunteers completing the modules were used to improve modules and determine knowledge retention.

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