Food insecurity is one of the major public health issues in today’s world, which continuously increases the risks of various chronic diseases in human beings. Especially in 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought about a more serious food crisis, and the challenge of food insecurity at the community level has become more significant. Therefore, food insecurity is an important topic that needs to be addressed on both a long-term and short-term basis. In this thesis, we took Tompkins County, NY, as a unique case to explore the initiatives and new approaches taken by local government agencies and organizations in meeting the pressing food needs among older adults and young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study applied qualitative research methods, in which we interviewed 7 local government agencies or non-profit organizations, identified key topics and themes, built up an emergency food system model, and explored multiple factors that affect the reliability and sustainability of the food supply system. The results show that transportation, volunteer management, funding, technology, social connections, food security, health equity, and innovation are important factors that contribute to establishing an emergency food system; and cross-agency collaboration plays a critical role in addressing food insecurity and promoting effective governance.
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