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

Conference Paper


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


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


Six US states.


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.


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


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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wilson, NLW; Calancie, L; Adkins, J; Folta, SC

Published Date

  • April 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 299 - 310

PubMed ID

  • 35039234

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8758996

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-2620

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1499-4046

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jneb.2021.11.002