A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trail of a Home-Delivered Food Box on Food Security in Chickasaw Nation

Country: United States
State / Locale: Chickasaw Nation, OK
Population: Indigenous/First Nation
Community Engagement (IAP2 Spectrum): Collaborate
Equity: People Place Process

Study Description:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave a $9.7 million grant to Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services (CNNS) for a project called “Packed Promise.” This project aims to provide monthly food boxes filled with nutritious items and a check to buy fruits and vegetables to families living in 12 rural counties within the Chickasaw Nation territory in south-central Oklahoma. The research questions that this paper explored are: How does the home delivery of these monthly food boxes and checks impact children’s food security in these rural areas? In other words, the study examined how this program affects whether children have enough food to eat and feel secure about their access to nutritious meals in this rural setting. For this demonstration project, Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services (CNNS) enlisted 40 school districts, which included 115 schools, to participate. This effort resulted in a total of 4,750 households that willingly agreed to take part in the project. To be eligible for participation, children needed to be 4 years old or older and eligible for free school meals within the school districts involved in the study. The nutritionists from CNNS who designed the food package were either members of the tribe themselves or had extensive experience working closely with the tribe for many years. This new approach did manage to deliver nutritious food boxes to low-income families, but it didn’t make a big enough difference in reducing food insecurity levels. Supplemental food boxes provide healthier items for children to eat, but they do not provide all the food a household needs for the month, causing little impact on food security levels.

Briefel, R. R., Chojnacki, G. J., Gabor, V., Forrestal, S. G., Kleinman, R., Cabili, C., & Gleason, P. M. (2021). A cluster randomized controlled trial of a home-delivered food box on food security in Chickasaw Nation. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 121(1), S46-S58.