Rural Mothers’ Use of Formal Programs and Informal Social Supports to Meet Family Food Needs: A Mixed Methods Study
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- Swanson, J.A., Olson, C.M., Miller, E.O. et al. J Fam Econ Iss (2008) 29: 674. doi:10.1007/s10834-008-9127-6
Much of the research on low-income families, welfare, and self-sufficiency has focused on urban populations. Further, many of the studies on informal or social support available to and accessed by low-income families addressed needs such as childcare, transportation, money, or housing and did not focus on food issues. This paper focuses on how formal government food assistance programs and informal supports are utilized by rural low-income families as they work to meet their food needs. Drawing on interviews from the multi-state “Rural Families Speak” project, we examine food security in relation to the use of formal and informal supports. Additional analyses address how mothers view and describe their use of support to meet food needs.