Our research projects focus on understanding and ending hunger and economic insecurity for families and their children. The Center for Hunger-Free Communities operates two major ongoing studies: Children’s HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger. We also do smaller studies, such as "The Real Cost of a Healthy Diet: 2011", that examine other issues related to hunger and poverty like the affordability and accessibility of food. Additionally, we have a number of emerging research studies, including the Building Wealth and Health Network, a demonstration project with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) commencing in 2014 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, as well as two studies focusing on toxic stress/childhood stress. Please see our Emerging Research page for more information.
At the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, we coordinate the Philadelphia site of Children's HealthWatch, a multi-site surveillance study that monitors the health and well-being of young children under the age of four in 5 inner-city medical centers located around the country. In Philadelphia, a team of trained interviewers conducts structured interviews with caregivers of young children about the factors affecting their child's health and development in the Emergency Department at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children six days a week. To see a summary of our hardship data for Philadelphia, please see the Philly Data page.
Witnesses to Hunger is an ongoing qualitative, participatory research study. Begun in Philadelphia in 2008, our research sites now include Boston and Baltimore. Research participants are caregivers with young children who receive some form of public assistance. Using the “photovoice” methodology, participants are given cameras to document their lives and their ideas for change. This study helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of poverty and to partner with participants to find real-world solutions. Click here to meet the Real Experts from Witnesses to Hunger, see their photographs and learn more about our advocacy work.