Georgia Food Bank Analysis
Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s (GMFB) mission is to address hunger, health and quality of life by serving those in need throughout North Georgia. GMFB provides a vital link between sources of food supplies and hardworking community-based partner agencies who help get the food into the hands of families and individuals who need it. Whether it’s distributing food or serving the community through outreach programs, initiatives and resources, Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s time to serve is now.
In the United States, food banks served an estimated 46 million people in 2015. A combination of government policy reforms and political economic trends contributed to the rising numbers of individuals relying on private food assistance in the US, the United Kingdom and other high-income countries. Although researchers frequently map urban food environments, this project is one of the first to map private food assistance and potential need at the census-tract scale. We utilize Geographic Information Systems, demographic data, and food assistance locations to develop a rapid assessment tool that could support food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, and government agencies that seek to answer the question of whether people with the greatest need have food distribution sites in close proximity. We define access based on distance and then calculate potential food insecurity using either poverty rates or a food insecurity index. We apply these methods in a case study analysis of Santa Clara County, California. Our findings suggest that food assistance distribution locations match the areas of potential need in more than 80% of urban census tracts. However, there are several potentially underserved locations and populations that could benefit from new food assistance operations. The poverty and index-based approaches show significant spatial overlap in mapped areas of high food insecurity and low access. The poverty only approach produces a higher estimate of food insecurity rates, is easier to calculate, and draws attention to the need to address poverty as a root cause of hunger.
Briefly, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia is a 501(c)3 that gathers donated items and purchased surplus food and distributes it to human-service agencies. These smaller non-profits then distribute that food to local community members in need. The Food Bank works with local, regional, state, and national product partners to bring food into the community.