Families living in poverty in the United States rely on earnings, federal government programmes, the emergency food system (EFS) and a variety of informal networks to get adequate nutrition. The EFS is a large network of emergency food operations (EFOs) that serve as a supplement both for people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and for those requiring food aid who do not qualify for government assistance. The static view of the distribution of EFOs across 11 counties in south-central Indiana typically employed by policymakers and non-governmental organizations shows this largely rural area to be well covered. However, when examined by the time of day and day of month that EFOs in the region operate, coverage proves illusory. Here, we map and analyse the spatiotemporal availability of services offered by these EFOs and develop measures of availability of EFOs, dependent on EFO open hours, service area limitations and numbers of food-insecure individuals. This allows policymakers and non-governmental organizations to better gauge the adequacy of the EFS within a given region.
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Kaplan, K.H., Kirk, K.J., Lich, K.M. et al. Accessibility to emergency food systems in south-central Indiana evaluated by spatiotemporal indices of pressure at county and pantry level. Nat Food 1, 284–291 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0079-9
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