Food banks operate with an objective to serve as many of food-insecure people as possible with the limited supply available to them. This paper presents a mixed-integer programming model to identify the efficient assignment of demand zones (counties) to distribution centers (branches) and equitable allocation of donated food from the food bank branches to the demand zones. The model objective function minimizes the total cost of branch operation, the cost of receiving and distributing food, the cost of undistributed food while maintaining the maximum allowed deviation from perfect equity. Data from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (FBCENC) are used to characterize the major attributes controlling the food distribution system of a food bank. Results from the optimization model using FBCENC data show that the optimal allocation under perfect equity follows a particular structure depending on the shipping cost and the cost of undistributed supply. Sensitivity analyses exploring the trade-offs between efficiency and effectiveness as a function of the cost of shipping, truck capacity, and a user-specified maximum inequity cap show that marginal sacrifice in equity can significantly improve effectiveness. The corresponding improvement in effectiveness is greater when comparatively larger trucks are used and the cost ofmore »
Proceedings of the 2018 IISE annual conference
Food insecurity affects more than 41 million people annually in the United States. Within the Feeding America network, approximately 200 food banks are working throughout the US to serve people in need with donated food. Satisfying hunger need of food insecure people with limited supply is a challenge for these food banks. A numerical study is performed on data from Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (FBCENC) to capture the major attributes controlling its food distribution system. FBCENC seeks to distribute donated food equitably so that each service area (county) receives food proportional to its demand while minimizing the undistributed food donations. In addition to seeking equitable and effective food distribution policies, FBCENC wants to identify distribution branches to maximize the accessibility of the counties to donated food. An assignment and distribution model is developed to minimize the cost of maintaining a user-specified cap on the maximum inequity in food distribution. A sensitivity analysis between the user-specified maximum inequity cap and effectiveness shows the effectiveness of donated food distribution can be improved significantly by sacrificing equitable distribution slightly.
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- Modeling for Efﬁcient Assignment of Multiple Distribution Centers for the Equitable and Effective Distribution of Donated Food
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- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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