Guide to Nutrition Programs

About The Guide

Created by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, The Guide to Nutrition Programs (GTNP) is an interactive map that provides a comprehensive listing of hunger-relief and nutrition resources throughout our county. Points of food distributions throughout Santa Barbara County are plotted on the interactive map. Each point is clickable and includes a variety of different information about the distribution such as service type, people served, hours of operation, eligibility criteria, how to enroll, and pounds served. The Foodbank has juxtaposed these food and nutrition resources over the population living at or below 185% of the poverty level (information released through the 2010 Census), as well as schools with over 50% of students eligible for free or reduced price meals. Poverty levels are divided by census tract, which are specifically designated to represent certain demographics of similar size. The user has the option to view either overall population poverty level, or child poverty level. Within each one of these clickable census blocks one can see the level of poverty for the overall population, as well as children and seniors. Above all, the Guide to Nutrition Programs is a visual aid for assessing the different resources throughout our county. The GTNP allows the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and funding community to see the need for hunger relief and nutrition resources relative to the availability of those services. The Guide can be used to:

  • Determine where to allocate resources (food, funds, etc.)
  • View neighboring distribution points
  • See what food distribution services are offered in your area
  • Find locations of specific food distribution types (for example, a location of a nearby youth organization)
  • Determine which areas of the county are highest need
  • Plan for geographic areas of expansion
  • Aid in program evaluation

How to Use

The complex map is multi-functional, allowing the user to select the data points to view. Below are a series of instructions detailing how to use the GTNP.

Note: Maps function best when loaded in Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, or Firefox.

The map legend, located at the bottom right corner of the map, details what the various colored dots signify, as well as the color/intensity scale of people living in poverty by census tract. The upper right corner of the map includes a function to allow the user to decide whether or not to view the distribution points (“GTNP”), schools with over 50% FRPM (“Schools”), total children living in poverty (“Children”), and total population living in poverty (“Poverty”). Shaded boxes are visible on the map; white boxes are not. The user must choose to view either the “Children” or the “Poverty” option, since the map can only display one at a time. The legend in the bottom right corner will also tell what type of poverty data is currently visible on the map. The bottom left corner of the map includes a function to allow the user to determine which type of program site to include on the map. Simply uncheck the box to the left of the category to remove it from the map. For example, if the user wants to view all youth programs but no other sites, simply uncheck all other boxes, and only youth sites will remain.

To learn more information about each program site, click the colored dot representing the site, and an information window will pop up. Scroll through the info window to learn more about the site. To learn more information about each census tract, click anywhere in the census tract and an information window will pop up. Simply click the “x” at the top right corner of the information windows to close it. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County created a second comprehensive map, which allows the user to view either Foodbank program sites, or Partner sites, or both. The map is used in the same way as the previously described complex map.

Guide to Nutrition Programs Comprehensive Map

Foodbank and Partner Distribution Sites

Areas of the county with highest overall poverty:

  • West side of Carpinteria
  • Westside of Santa Barbara
  • By the beach Santa Barbara
  • Isla Vista
  • Lompoc
  • Most of Santa Maria, particularly west side
  • Guadalupe

Areas of the county with highest child poverty:

  • Westside of Santa Barbara
  • By the beach Santa Barbara
  • Lompoc
  • Santa Maria
  • Guadalupe

Foodbank strategies for High Need Areas:

  • Increasing number of Emergency Feeding Organizations in the area — Emergency Feeding Organizations can significantly increase the amount of food made available in an area. Because most Emergency Feeding Organizations do not limit their distributions to a particular client-type, more low-income people may access food.
  • Identifying new partners — Identifying new partners becomes crucial in areas with a low level of existing distributions paired with a low possibility for existing distributions to raise capacity.
  • Assisting agencies in distributing more food — If a census tract area consists of larger agencies, the amount of food distributed is significantly increased. Moving small agencies into the larger category can certainly raise the amount of food distributed in an area. This can also be read as expanding agency capacity.
  • Direct distributions — Direct distributions are necessary in areas where partners do not exist, and the need for emergency food organizations is great. Direct distributions may also assist in specialty areas, for example nutrition education, however these types of specialty programs/distributions do not necessarily significantly increase the amount of food being distributed in any one area. Direct distributions such as Mobile Food Pantries and Farmer’s Markets, on the other hand, can help supplement an area without many resources.
  • Expanding outreach — CalFresh outreach is appropriate in areas with high levels of CalFresh eligibility. CalFresh can provide non-emergency resources in areas where partners are being hard-hit with large and expanding client numbers.
  • Expanding Partners’ Capacity — Financial assistance as credits to accounts, assistance with equipment, distribution logistics, and Foodbank volunteer assistance.

Year-to-Year Comparisons

The Foodbank has used information compiled about our member and direct distributions as they stand in 2014. We will continue to refresh and add to these data sets. In addition, we will refresh the website and maps completely in 2015 to give an up to date, year over year look at how we, as a network of hunger relief organizations, are doing to close the gap in key areas.


Have questions, comments, concerns about The Guide? Please contact the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.