Nashville Churches tend to feed families in 7 or 8 zip codes across Tennessee, a new study revealed.
According to a study, done by Tracy Noerper in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, there are two particular churches that reach at least 20 zip codes, one of which reached 30 zip codes. Even small churches, or those that have a membership of less than 100 members, still reach a staggering 3 zip codes.
How does this happen? Well, according to the study's author, one way is through word of mouth. "If people get a good bag of groceries, they might tell other people in need, in their families, or people in their apartment complex. And through these networks, all of the city is being served," Noerper told Christianity Today. In other words, "word gets around," she told the news outlet.
However, there was one interesting conclusion the study found. Larger churches, while still having substantial reach, only reached between 5 and 6 zip codes, which is smaller than the average of 7 to 8 for medium-sized churches. While it is unknown why this is the case, some theories Noerper reportedly proposed to Christianity Today are that these larger churches are more suburban and thus cannot be as easily reached as many medium and small churches.
The study, titled "P13 Social Network Analysis of Urban Church Food Pantries," looked at 93 churches, 46 of which had an on-site food pantry, over a period of three years from 2015-2018. The study ultimately concluded that the size of the church was not a factor in how far the church reached, but simply the fact these churches tried to give quality food to people in need was the major determining factor to how successful the food pantry was.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.