Impact of Prices and Distance on Donations to the Regional Food Bank in Fredericksburg, VA: A Study of Chain Grocery Stores

By Sydney Sherman

Faculty Mentor: Kashef Majid

Abstract

This study investigates the influence of prices and proximity to the Regional Food Bank in Fredericksburg, VA, on the type and quantity of donations provided by surrounding grocery stores. Regional food banks are an intricate network of grocery stores, donations from people, and local farms coming together to ensure the people of their community have everything they need. The focus of this research is the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, which helps 26,800 people living in poverty in our community (Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank). With the overarching goal of understanding the dynamics of food donation patterns, this research seeks to address the following question: How do prices and distance from the food bank impact the type and quantity of donations given from chain grocery stores in the surrounding Fredericksburg area?
Preliminary findings suggest a nuanced relationship between distance, prices, and donations. While proximity to the food bank may correlate with increased donation quantities due to logistical convenience, pricing dynamics within stores could also play a significant role in shaping donation patterns. Through thematic analysis of the qualitative data collected over two years, this study further explores the underlying motivations and constraints influencing donation decisions. The findings came to show that the higher priced grocery stores that are closer in distance are more likely to donate more to the food banks or its other community partners at various locations.
Understanding these dynamics is crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of food bank operations and fostering collaboration with chain grocery stores to address food insecurity in the region. Insights from this research can inform strategic initiatives aimed at optimizing donation collection processes and improving access to nutritious food for the community to reap the benefits.


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