Food insecurity and social determinants of health resources

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In the United States, approximately 35 million Americans experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is contributes to worse health outcomes for a number of diseases.

Food insecurity does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping issues like lack of affordable housing, social isolation, economic/social disadvantage resulting from structural racism, chronic or acute health problems, high medical costs, and low wages. Taken together, these issues are important social determinants of health, or SdoH, defined as the “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Another population that experience food insecurity is college students, with 30% of all college students reporting insecurity at some point in their college careers. In addition to its negative impact on health and wellbeing, food insecurity can also be detrimental to academic performance.

While the root causes of food insecurity are complex, here are few collated resources that Office of Accessibility, Belonging and Community Health has collated to address food insecurity and SDoH challenges:

Local Food Pantries



The Food Assistance Program helps provide healthy food to people with low-income levels. The amount of assistance provided is based upon the number of people living in the household and gross income brought in after certain expenses are subtracted from disposable income.


Social Determinants of Health Challenges

211 helps connect people to resources that will help them fulfill their basic needs. This includes things like food security, housing security, childcare, help with electric bills, job search, and more. You can visit the website below and input your zip code to be connected to resources in your community:

How can I help?

There are multiple ways that you can help those who are experiencing food insecurity:


Consider donating to local food banks with a one-time financial gift or donating regularly


Consider donating food to your local food bank


Consider volunteering your time at your local food banks