Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food pantry clients struggle to afford diapers, detergent, other non-food items

Date:
April 2, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Summary:
Many food-insecure families also struggle to afford basic non-food household goods, such as personal care, household, and baby-care products, according to a new study. "These families often make trade-offs with other living expenses and employ coping strategies in an effort to secure such household items as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, or disposable diapers," said the lead author.

Many food-insecure families also struggle to afford basic non-food household goods, such as personal care, household, and baby-care products, according to a new University of Illinois study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Related Articles


"These families often make trade-offs with other living expenses and employ coping strategies in an effort to secure such household items as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, or disposable diapers. What's more, nearly three in four low-income families have cut back on food in the past year in order to afford these essential non-food items," said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the U of I's Family Resiliency Center and Pampered Chef Endowed Chair.

The researchers found that over 33 million people used food pantries to supplement their basic food needs, with one in three low-income families experiencing difficulty in affording basic household items. Of these families, 82 percent live in households with low or very low food security, meaning they cannot afford enough food to feed their family.

In interviews of food pantry clients, the researchers used the Red Cross disaster relief list to help clients identify the personal household products they found most essential to daily living, then asked them about the consequences of going without these products and the strategies they used to secure them. Thirty-two percent of the households were headed by single parents, and most households lived on less than $800 a month, she said.

"These parents really struggled to get personal hygiene and household cleaning products, sometimes even giving up prescription medication to afford these items. They may have resorted to taking toilet paper from public places. Other coping strategies include watering down products to make them last longer, substituting one product for another, not paying bills, and simply going without," she added.

Three themes recurred in the interviews: the battle to retain personal respect, being a good parent, and keeping the family healthy, Fiese said.

"Parents didn't want their children to be thought of as dirty or unclean because they didn't have access to laundry detergent or toothbrushes and toothpaste. They also feared being judged for not taking care of their kids and worried that they might be turned in for neglect," she added.

She emphasized that being unable to attend to basic needs such as oral health care, providing clean clothes, and keeping a clean home is a health risk for children.

For families with infants and toddlers, adequate sources of diapers were important. Although some food pantries had diapers, participants reported that they sometimes had to travel from pantry to pantry to get enough to meet their needs.

Laundry detergent was another pricey item with many families saying that they go without or only do laundry occasionally. "We can only afford to do laundry once a month," said one respondent.

Although participants said they might borrow from others to make ends meet at the end of the month, they found it embarrassing, and those feelings took a toll on them. "It gets overwhelming and stressful, and it's degrading," one mother said.

The results of the interviews used in this east-central Illinois study have been used to design a larger, nationally representative phone survey as well as to help food banks assess their clients' concerns regarding household product needs.

"The interviews shed light on the often complicated decisions that families have to make in balancing the need to feed their children, purchase household supplies for healthy living, and pay for medical expenses. Clearly these are not easy decisions, and the choices can have serious consequences for multiple members of the household," she added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). The original article was written by Phyllis Picklesimer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barbara H. Fiese, Brenda Davis Koester, Elaine Waxman. Balancing Household Needs: The Non-food Needs of Food Pantry Clients and Their Implications for Program Planning. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10834-013-9381-0

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). "Food pantry clients struggle to afford diapers, detergent, other non-food items." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402111607.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). (2014, April 2). Food pantry clients struggle to afford diapers, detergent, other non-food items. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402111607.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). "Food pantry clients struggle to afford diapers, detergent, other non-food items." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402111607.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins