Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Community and Regional Planning/Master of Science


Community and Regional Planning


Sustainable Agriculture

First Advisor

Carlton W. Basmajian


Story County, Iowa, has the highest rate of food insecurity (15.2%) in the state (12.7%). As a result of this large need, the county has responded by creating 16 private food pantries and one soup kitchen. Many people, however, require both public (e.g. SNAP, WIC, TEFAP, and School Lunch/Breakfast Program) and private assistance, indicating the depth of food insecurity is great. As a result of this growing demand for private emergency food to supplement public food assistance programming, questions emerge about the effectiveness of this approach. Thus, an exploratory case study looking at three scales of food pantries in the county was employed to understand the experiences of food pantry customers also utilizing public assistance, along with the perceptions of food pantry customers' by the pantry volunteers. Customer surveys and in-depth interviews, combined with a focus group with food pantry volunteers, show a clear dichotomy between the volunteers and customers as to how food pantries should be used. These differences are important to highlight and change as private assistance becomes a more prominent response to food insecurity in the United States.


Copyright Owner

Jacqueline Ann Nester



File Format


File Size

139 pages