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Food Pantries

Variable Definitions:
Food Pantries: The number of food pantries in a given area

LA County Controller

Years Available:

Methodology Note:

The original data comes at the point level. Our team geocoded the locations to generate X/Y coordinates, then spatial joined each point to 2020 Census Tracts.

Why are these variables important to measure?

Food Pantries 

Food insecurity is generally defined as a lack of means to secure the necessary quality or quantity of food within a household. Nationally, food insecurity affects 13% of U.S. households. Those suffering from food insecurity may encounter obstacles to purchasing nutrients like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and foods high in fiber at some point during the year. Often these individuals come from vulnerable populations including seniors and children. 
Food banks and food pantries are distributional nodes in the food network that provides food to needy families. Food banks receive donations from retailers, grocery chains, restaurants and the community and store it for future distribution. Food pantries are usually smaller distribution sites that receive food from much larger food banks. Food pantries are where food is finally dispersed to hungry families. For those who are disabled or immobile there are mobile food pantries that can bring needed food to hard-to-reach areas. 

The growing Food Justice Movement seeks to guarantee healthy and affordable food to everyone by addressing disparate food access especially in low-income and communities of color. In Los Angeles County organizations like The Los Angeles Food Policy CouncilFood Finders, and Hollywood Food Coalition work to address these disparities. 

The location of food pantries is a valuable data set that informs users about food pantry locations as well helping researchers and the community visualize the food distribution network. 
Written by Dan Oberle


Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Food Insecurity in Los Angeles County Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic, November 2021. Link
Waite, Tori. (2019). What is the difference between a food bank and food pantry? Feeding America. Link

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