Food Insecurity and Access to Food Pantries in Southeast Texas

Authors: Mastura Safayet*, Texas A&M University, John P Casellas Connors, Texas A&M University, Nathanael Rosenheim, Texas A&M University, Maria Watson, Texas A&M University
Topics: Food Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Food Security, Food Access, Food Pantries, Food Assistance, Critical Infrastructure
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: Download



Food insecurity is a complex phenomenon that affects millions of Americans every year. Around 35 million people in the United States were living in food-insecure households in 2019, and this number has increased dramatically during the pandemic. Food banks and food pantries are important sources of food for many of these food-insecure households. Extensive research has now addressed the spatial variation in food insecurity and access to food retailers, but far less attention has been given to the access to food pantries, yet access to these services is an important strategy in managing food insecurity. This study explores how access to food aid resources (i.e., food pantries) varies across Southeast Texas, and identifying areas where food-insecure communities have limited access to these resources. The study defines access to food aid programs based on service area calculation through road network distance. Using the eight counties located in Southeast Texas as case studies, the study aims to calculate block group level food insecurity using poverty rates and a food insecurity index. Measuring the physical access or geographic proximity to the food aid programs can provide valuable insights on how these services are distributed throughout the region as well as if the people in the highest need have these food aid services available in their close proximity.

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