Mothers Learn to "Cook" Without a Kitchen, Shop Smart and Feed Kids Right

Program to treat and reduce malnutrition among homeless children

This unsolicited project was designed to bridge the significant gap in services that combat homelessness and those that fight against malnutrition in women and children.

From 1991 to 1995, staff at Boston City Hospital addressed this dichotomy in services through nutrition education, nutrition surveillance and public policy change.

Key Results

  • Project staff screened more than 600 homeless children age 6 and under for malnourishment, and evaluated 216 pregnant homeless women at nutritional risk.

  • Project staff established a nutrition education curriculum and presented almost 200 nutrition education sessions in homeless shelters and hotels.

  • Staff shared the curriculum and findings through national dissemination.

  • The project also developed models of primary and secondary prevention of nutritional morbidity among homeless women and children. Piloted in the Boston area, these models can now be used nationally.

Key Findings

  • Combating the problem of homelessness and hunger will require a deliberate, focused short-and-long-term approach.

  • It is possible to organize a system to address both homelessness and hunger.