Hunger Free Communities
Indy Hunger Network is one of seventy organizations nationwide that are part of the Hunger Free Communities Network. Communities around the country are sharing best practices to speed their progress toward being hunger-free. Read their recent report for more information on what constitutes a hunger-free community.
SNAP Awareness and Perceptions Study
Manual of Best Practices for Food Pantries
Indy Hunger Network created a Manual of Best Practices for Food Pantries in 2020. This document was compiled for use by the staff and volunteers who run Central Indiana’s food pantries. The resources and practices in this manual were informed by focus groups of food pantry staff, volunteers, and other local organizations and are complemented by research-based recommendations for improving the food system. Hard copies are available for local food pantries and can be requested by contacting us. Digital copies are also available here.
WIC Awareness and Perceptions Study
This market research study was commissioned by Indy Hunger Network and Marion County WIC to determine current levels of awareness, understanding and perceptions among eligible households in Marion County of the WIC program. It found that 92% of WIC participants were satisfied with the services, 89% thought WIC had a positive effect on quality of life, and 97% were likely to recommend it to friends or family. However, although 100% of those surveyed were eligible for WIC, only 34% were currently accessing the program, with an additional 51% having used the program in the past. The most common reason for not utilizing the program was the perception of not needing the service or that they do not qualify. Phase two of this project is to use the insights gained during the study to build strategies for increasing enrollment.
Unmet Need/Meal Gap Studies
From 2010 to 2013, the meal supply in Marion County had grown by 30 million meals per year. IHN’s goal had been to assure there was enough food for all, but no suitable metric for the remaining meal gap could be found. So in 2014, with help from IUPUI and USDA, a first-of-its-kind survey of unmet need for food assistance was designed and executed. The study found that 21% of Marion County residents needed food assistance and estimated the unmet need for food at 9 million meals a year. This study became the basis for choosing the next round of improvement projects. Since then, collaboration among nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Indianapolis has created a food assistance “safety net” that is helping nearly all food insecure households. A follow-up survey was completed in February 2017 to compare need during the winter. Across the pandemic IHN has completed three surveys: one conducted in the winter before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the second in June 2020, and the third in June 2021. Each estimated the amount of additional food assistance needed to meet all of the food need, and the characteristics of those who need food assistance.
Full 2021 report
Infographic flyer for 2021 report
Full 2020 report
Infographic flyer for 2020 report
Full 2017 report
Summary of the 2017 report
Full 2014 report
Summary of the 2014 report