Faculty Mentor

Rana Najjar; Patti Warkentin




This project sought to increase awareness regarding food insecurity and available food resources in Polk County to bridge the gaps of food availability for residents. The SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results) model was used to facilitate change. Research on available food assistance agencies and Community Health Assessments (CHA) proved a greater need for available food resources throughout Polk County. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a need was identified for increased awareness and access of food resources. A survey of Polk County residents indicated a gap of knowledge regarding food bank and food pantry locations and a recurring trend of inaccessibility (Polk County Family and Community Outreach, 2020). Additionally, a majority of the surveyed residents responded that they would “absolutely use” a food box delivery service and indicated evening hour preference for accessing food banks and food pantries (Polk County Family and Community Outreach, 2020). Barriers to combating food insecurity included: pandemic restrictions, limited communication between food banks, and volunteer-run agencies that limited hours of operation. From this research it was concluded that Polk County residents would benefit from an increase in food resource availability with additional volunteers, extended hours of operations, communication between food assistance agencies, use of food delivery services, and more accessible marketing of the available resources.

Keywords: food insecurity, food resources, food accessibility, Polk County, food bank, food pantry


Polk County Family and Community Outreach. (2020). Access to food in Polk County [Unpublished raw data].

Stavros, J. M., & Hinrichs, G. (2009). The thin book of SOAR: Building strengths-based strategy. Thin Book Publishing.






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