Shifting the Narrative: Charity to Food Justice

This project was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research results were rolled into a larger survey of emergency food assistance organizations. Please refer to the Impact of COVID-19 on Hunger Relief Organizations in the US project description.

Project Description

Currently, most efforts to address hunger focus on food provision to those in need. While this is critically essential aid, we must also address the systemic issues related to race, poverty, and power that cause hunger. This project will explore shifting the narrative and solution set in the fight to end hunger from charity to a broader toolkit that addresses the root causes of food insecurity and will present opportunities for stakeholders to align action for a more significant impact. The goal of this project is to support a shift in hunger relief work from being charity-oriented to an increased focus on justice and community ownership. To do this, we will illustrate how the current system and actors –academia, philanthropy, nonprofits, the faith community, and governmental organizations—reinforce a fundamentally charity-focused model. Then, we will identify the research, stakeholders, messages, and context needed to shift our collective orientation from feeding people to systems shifts where people thrive.

 Photo by Flo Maderebner from Pexels


Project Team

  • Jen Zuckerman, M.S.
  • Sarah Zoubek, MEM
  • Deborah Hill
  • Heather Street
  • Alison Conrad, MPP