Date of Completion


Embargo Period



James J. Grady, Dr.P.H., Jane A. Ungemack, Dr.P.H.

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Open Access


Background: Food insecurity is defined as not having the resources to obtain enough safe, nutritionally adequate food in socially acceptable ways to support an active, healthy life. A new approach to emergency food assistance is needed, and researchers have encouraged the exploration of empowerment, self-efficacy, and goal setting as a means of better understanding and preventing food insecurity. Objective: The study aim is to examine the association between food insecurity and self-efficacy, and evaluate the ability of a new food pantry model (Freshplace) to increase the food security and self-efficacy of members. Methods: A randomized control trial comparing Freshplace to a control group was completed. The survey instrument used for the evaluation included a new self-efficacy for food security scale and the USDA Food Security Module. Results: Cronbach α tests demonstrated that the self-efficacy scale was reliable. There was a significant positive association between self-efficacy and food security at baseline (P = .004) and at 3 months (P = .02). A positive relationship between Freshplace participation and not reporting very low food security was observed at 3 months (P = .05). There was a significant association between study group and self-efficacy status at 6 months (P = .001). Conclusion: The results of this study reveal an opportunity to further refine the Freshplace program to more effectively promote food security and help food pantry members become more self-sufficient. This study suggests that methods to increase self-efficacy will be an essential component of the evidence-based food pantry model resulting from this research.

Major Advisor

Katie S. Martin, Ph.D.