As one of the root causes of chronic hunger, it is well-established that food insecurity adversely affects health and economic outcomes of those afflicted (Carmichael et al. 2007; Seligman et al. 2009; Huang, Matta Oshima, and Kim, 2010; Pan et al. 2012; Martinez et al. 2018). More than eleven percent of Americans, uncertain about where their next meal will come from, experienced some degree of food insecurity in 2018 (Coleman-Jensen, 2019). Programs like SNAP and WIC have not only proven to be effective in providing food for households, but they can serve as an example for other countries that struggle to help citizens meet their dietary needs (Gundersen, 2019). non-government entities like food banks and food pantries have played an increasingly important role in addressing food insecurity. While there is a perception that food banks and pantries are only emergency resources, evidence suggests that many individuals regularly rely on private hunger relief organizations for food (Paynter et al., 2011; Kicinski, 2012). Food banks play a crucially important role in distributing food and are uniquely positioned to alleviate hunger. However, these private organizations have been shown, compared to public food assistance programs, to be less effective at specifically addressing the issue of food insecurity (Bazerghi et al., 2016; Loopstra & Tarasuk, 2012; Ratcliffe & McKernan, 2010; Metallinos-Katsaras et al., 2010). Existing research has largely focused on the characteristics of food pantry clients generally, without exploring the socio-economic and experiential variation within this group (Towers, 2009; Kicinski, 2012; Gundersen el al., 2017). This study fills a gap in the literature by examining the characteristics of food pantry users, and how they compare to those not using food pantries but still face food insecurity, using nationally representative survey data. Additionally, I explore whether food pantries and public food assistance programs might be “bundled” together. I focus on gradients of economic vulnerability by examining households who participate in public food assistance programs, are SNAP-eligible but not participating, as well as households who bundle both private and public food assistance to meet their food needs. With this thesis, I hope to contribute this research by providing behavioral insights into understanding the role that food banks play in mitigating challenges associated with food insecurity among US households.