FOOD SECURITY IN SPRINGFIELD, MO
In 2015, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department released a report on Physical Access as a Factor in Food Security. The report highlighted census tracts which have limited physical access to supermarkets.
The report indicated that Springfield had five census tracts classified as low-income with low access to food stores: 3, 5.02, 6, 11 and 18.
Community efforts to reduce barriers to physical access to food were recommended in the census tracts highlighted in the report.
This report provides an update on food security in Springfield by looking at the access residents of low-income areas have to supermarkets and "Safety Net Food Providers."
Progress at the Supermarket Level
Since the release of the 2015 report, there have been successes and setbacks. A new supermarket opened on Grand Avenue and another on Commercial reopened as a supermarket at Grand and Kansas closed. Two new grocery store chains moved to Springfield, both in areas with already high access.
The Impact of Safety Net Food Providers
Safety net food providers provide additional food access opportunities at no charge to low-income residents.
Limitations of Food Safety Net Providers
Safety net providers may not provide consistent or constant availability of food.
Feeding sites are locations where families can get a full meal on-site, such as the Northwest Project’s weekly community dinners. The community could benefit from more frequent meals and greater dispersal throughout the community, particularly community-based options which are available to all families.
Many Springfield schools offer food pantries that are available to families with children. Ozarks Food Harvest is the food bank benefiting area food pantries. The community could benefit from the presence of more community-based food pantries dispersed throughout vulnerable areas.
Meals to Go
Meals to go consist mostly of Backpack Programs, Grab ‘N Go Snacks and Supersnacks available only to Springfield Public School students. There are only seven (7) community-based options. Of those, two are only available to seniors. The community could benefit from more services which offer meals to go.