Rural Child Hunger Summit: Spotlight on the Promises and Pitfalls of SNAP Online Grocery Shopping

Many states have chosen to offer online purchasing to SNAP participants in the past year as the pandemic has put an even greater spotlight on food access. Dr. Alison Gustafson from the University of Kentucky will discuss the current landscape of SNAP online ordering in rural communities. This session will focus on what has been learned so far from SNAP online ordering, barriers to SNAP online purchasing, and opportunities to improve access and purchasing options in rural areas.

Did you know? In 2019, Share Our Strength and Feeding America partnered with a team of researchers from six universities on an in-depth qualitative study to explore what makes it easier or harder for families in rural areas to provide food for their kids. Here’s what we found.


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Karen WongKaren Wong, Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation, Share Our Strength

Karen Wong, MHS, is a Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation for the No Kid Hungry campaign at Share Our Strength. She manages research initiatives to inform interventions and assess the impact of the No Kid Hungry campaign’s efforts to increase food access. Prior to joining Share Our Strength, Karen conducted research and analysis of SNAP policy while at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and evaluated universal school meals programming as an Emerson Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. She also worked on poverty reduction initiatives addressing food, health, and housing policy while at Catholic Charities USA.

Dr. Alison GustafsonDr. Alison Gustafson, Buster Endowed Professor, Dietetics and Human Nutrition, University of Kentucky

Alison Gustafson, PhD, MPH, RD is an Associate Professor and Buster Endowed Professor at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. Her research focuses on how various components of the food environment are on the pathway to poor dietary outcomes among rural and geographically isolated communities. Dr. Gustafson is the Principal Investigator on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention High Obesity Program (HOP-1807) grant working to improve environmental infrastructure in Martin County, KY, as well as several USDA and NIH grants. She was most recently awarded a Share Our Strength grant testing the effectiveness of an online grocery shopping intervention among rural and urban residents. She will be part of a discussion focusing on the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online grocery shopping e orts across the United States. Dr. Gustafson will also share how this work is framing future research related to online grocery shopping and policy relevance for hunger relief.