Examining Food Bank Attitude, Food Security, Availability to Basic Needs and Psychological Wellbeing: From the Perspectives of University Students as Food Bank Recipients

Erne Suzila Kassim, Ismah Osman, Hanitahaiza Hairuddin
Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA

Faridah Haji Hassan
Institute of Quality and Knowledge Advancement, Universiti Teknologi MARA

Muhamad Hanif Asa’ari
Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs


Food banks have become one of the initiatives in combating food insecurity in many countries. However, there are debates on how they fulfill the food needs and improve the psychological wellbeing of the recipients. In looking for the confirmation-disconfirmation of the arguments, this study explores how university students as the food bank recipients experience the food relief services and how food bank program impacts their psychological wellbeing. The study that was conducted as a quantitative survey predicted that the food bank availability, as well as the recipients’ psychological wellbeing would improve when there is a positive attitude on the food bank program, positive access to food security and positive access to basic needs. In addition, it was also assumed with the provision of food security, it would improve the recipients’ access to basic needs. Three hundred and sixty-one university students as the food bank recipients participated in the study. Based on the structural modeling of Smart PLS, the findings indicate there are significant relationships between food bank attitude, food security, access to basic needs and psychological wellbeing. Therefore, the study and the findings suggest for an evidence on how food banks are benefiting the psychological needs and help to curb hunger. As food banks have the potential to improve food security outcomes and psychological wellbeing, provision of the program should be made available to address the fundamental needs. Hence, actions within and across government, as well as effective stakeholders’ engagement to deliver coordinated and collaborative response should be sustained.

Keywords: Food bank and psychological wellbeing, Food bank for university students, Food security, Food security and material deprivation, Food security and sustainable development goals