Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Kenda Grover

Second Committee Member

Kevin Roessger


food insecurity, food pantry directors, life experiences, nutrition policy implementation, nutrition security


The charitable food system includes food pantries and are often used by individuals and households who are food insecure (Kuhns & Norotny, 2021; Seligman & Berkowitz, 2019; Sangye, 2013). Adults with any level of food insecurity have a 43% to 53% greater risk of developing a chronic disease than those who are food secure. Those who are food secure have a 37% risk of developing a chronic disease (Gregory & Coleman-Jenson, 2017). For this reason, efforts are being made from state and federal levels to focus on nutrition security, rather than only food security, by increasing the percentage of nutrient dense foods being distributed through food pantries. These efforts are in the form of nutrition policies to establish uniform dietary guidelines, nutrition and health literacy education, and investments toward the capacities necessary to store healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables (Seligman et al., 2020). However, little attention has been given to directors and whether they have the necessary resources, support, and training to implement such nutrition policies. Research is needed to understand if implementing nutrition policies puts a strain on directors who are already limited on time and resources because they are fulfilling the leadership roles of their organization as the business manager, volunteer organizer, and social services provider (Jones & Deitrick, 2018; Precious et al., 2017). The purpose of this case study is to capture the experiences of food pantry and food bank directors while implementing nutrition policies within the Arkansas Delta Region. During a time when food pantry usage rates are on the rise (Chapman, 2017; Sangye, 2013; Wright, 2018), it is imperative research be expanded to explore the effect implementing nutrition policies are having on directors. It is the researcher’s hope to bring understanding to those who are not on the front lines of charitable food distribution so future processes can be developed to make implementation easier.