Panel Paper: Child Food Insecurity: An Analysis of the Public and Private Responses

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 213 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Karabi C Bezboruah and Indira Manandhar, University of Texas, Arlington

We examine the Summer Food Service program in the Arlington Independent School District (AISD) in Texas, by focusing on summer meals provided by schools and nonprofit agencies. Food programs offered during summer months are not used to their full potential and only 12% of low-income Texas kids have access to summer meals leading to Texas being the state with the highest number of hungry children (FitzSimons et al.,2015).

We examine the state funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) created to ensure that children in low-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to free school lunch or breakfast.

Research questions:

  1. To what extent are the charitable food delivery services addressing the problem of hunger in addition to the Summer Food Service program?
  2. Do students who receive food assistance during summer experience positive changes in food insecurity and educational achievement?

Methodology - We apply the case study approach for the study (Yin, 2012) by focusing on the Arlington ISD (AISD) in Texas because of the severity of the child hunger problem. By surveying 75 school and nonprofit administrators in Arlington, we examine the effects of the program. Specifically, we identify gaps, understand their operations and the effects of the existing services, and explore challenges faced by schools and the charitable suppliers in providing food assistance.

The results will assist policy-makers, administrators and nonprofit agencies in improving operations, food distribution services, as well as identifying areas needing such assistance.