Press "Enter" to skip to content

Understanding Micro-pantries as an Emergency Food Source During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published: November 2021
Bibliographic reference: Norbert L W Wilson, Larissa Calancie, Janna Adkins, Sara C Folta, Understanding Micro-pantries as an Emergency Food Source During the COVID-19 Pandemic, J Nutr Educ Behav. 2022 Apr;54(4):299-310. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2021.11.002. Epub 2022 Jan 14.

Download Paper

Micropantry research


Objective: To explore the role of micro-pantries in addressing food insecurity during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Design: Qualitative interviews with 20 micro-pantry users and 10 stakeholders during April and May, 2020.

Setting: Six US states.

Participants: Users, aged ≥ 18 years, had obtained food from a micro-pantry in the past 2 weeks; stakeholders, aged ≥ 18 years, played a role in organizing micro-pantries at the community, regional, or national levels.

Phenomena of Interest: Impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity and use of micro-pantries to mitigate it; benefits of, suggested improvements to, and adoption and administration of micro-pantries.

Analysis: We transcribed the data verbatim and performed deductive qualitative content analysis.

Results: Micro-pantry users had increased their use of both micro-pantries and regular food pantries during the pandemic. Micro-pantries helped stretch resources. Users appreciated the anonymity and choice;the mutual aid aspects reduced stigma. Stakeholders described micro-pantries as providing a direct way for neighbors to help neighbors during the pandemic. They described a decentralized and informal system of administration.

Conclusions and Implications: Findings suggest that micro-pantries provided a supplemental food source that supported the resilience of communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: food insecurity, charitable food, pandemic, mutual aid, resilience (J Nutr Educ Behav. 2021;000:1−12.)

Accepted November 5, 2021

To download paper:;

Related Resources

Related Podcats

Podcast on micropantries

E154: Micropantries and Community Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Friday, January 21, 2022

Today, we're going to speak about micropantries as a form of community resilience in the face of the food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our guests today are Reverend Wendy Miller Olapade of the United Church of Christ in Medford, Massachusetts, professor Norbert Wilson, who's Professor of Food Economics and Community at Duke University, and lead author of a recent paper on micropantries in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Sara Folta, with the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, Science, and Policy.