The US Department of Health and Human Services has released a set of objectives and termed them as ‘Healthy People 2020’. In these objectives, they have outlined the definition of food insecurity, explaining that it occurs when food intake or regular eating patterns are disturbed because of a shortage of money and other resources, such as transport.
Transport plays a major role in food insecurity as stores are less accessible due to hindrances in the transportation system. Income and disability are also factors that contribute to food insecurity.
The Director of UNCs Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention has talked about this issue, explaining that lack of accessibility to food can create a huge problem for people who are chronically ill as they require a certain type of diet. Patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension are all at risk.
A Data Reporter shares an overview of the distance between grocery stores and public housing developments or private apartments.
In Chapel Hill, the majority of the stores are situated at a distance of half a mile for apartments and are generally located in high-income neighborhoods.
Moreover, the distance from public housing is even greater that is one mile.
Due to the coronavirus, Chapel Hill has decreased its bus capacity which has resulted in limited access to public transport.
In March, the bus routes were simplified so busses were only available on Saturdays. In June, routes were made available on weekdays as well, however, the capacity of the bus was reduced from 16-21 to 10 people per bus.
The director of the Chapel Hill Transit explains that these changes were necessary to counter the spread of the coronavirus. He has also named a few alternatives, EZ Rider being one of them, which was developed for people with disabilities.
The program manager for Refugee Community Partnership talked about the problems of refugee families, saying that this decrease in the capacity has affected the accessibility to food, job, and doctors as well.
The Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools started an initiative to distribute food around different locations in public housing communities. Other organizations such as Refugee Community Partnership, PORCH, and Food Not Bombs have also aided in countering this problem through delivery services.
However, Clawar has criticized food delivery apps and emphasized that they are not accessible to everyone because of issues relating to technology, language, and delivery fees.