The Private Emergency Food Shelf (PEFS) system has been critiqued for its unhealthy food, stigmatizing environments, and relationships with corporate interests; however less has been said about how food shelves can transform their practices. This paper examines the PEFS system using the Community Food Security (CFS) framework. Drawing on qualitative research, we identify three ways food shelves can better respond to the lived realities of food insecure people: providing trauma-informed food support, healthy food access, and addressing spatial isolation. The discussion elaborates on how food shelves can offer food and serve as an entree to wider social support systems.
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- community food security
- food justice
- food shelves