Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Kathryn Anthony

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Steven Venette

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

John Meyer

Committee Member 3 School



Health disparities affect significant portions of the population and are most often experienced by marginalized communities (Wilkin, 2013). Health disparities are also impacted by geographical location, and hunger often affects rural areas (Dutta, Anaele, & Jones, 2013; Rural Health Information Hub, 2017). This study aims to understand how nonprofit organizations focused on addressing food insecurity disseminate information to members of the local community and how the input of community members impacted the overall food insecurity campaign. This study was conducted by interviewing five nonprofit directors and conducting three focus groups with clients of the. aforementioned organizations. The author found that while organizations attempted to take culture and clients’ lived experiences into account when crafting their messages, they were forced to balance multiple perspectives and attempted to predict the behavior of an entire community using one representative. Further, structural concerns such as physical walls and limited resources – such as time – also served as barriers to communication. This paper is a response to calls to focus on communication ecology and the perspective of both the organization and the client. This paper has, thus, added to the scholarship by providing a look at the lived experiences of both those seeking to ameliorate food insecurity and those experiencing food insecurity in the south.