Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Choice Pantries: An obvious choice

Today's post comes from Jessica Braun, our Food Distribution Coordinator.

Imagine for a moment you do not have enough money to go grocery shopping this week. You arrive at your local food pantry, wait in line, sign-in, and be handed a box of food and pointed toward the door. Do you feel that you've been helped or do you feel like a number? Now take your box home and open it inside you find: cans of green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, and tuna as well as boxes of mac n cheese and ramen noodles, some frozen sausage, and hamburger buns. Now do you feel you've been helped? You have a box of food but you're allergic to tuna, so you throw it out. Your kids refuse to eat green beans and cranberry sauce so the cans sits in your cupboard collecting dust. Perhaps you eat only Kosher foods and give the sausage to your neighbor. That doesn't leave you with much, not to mention the food waste.

Now imagine that when you go into your local food pantry a volunteer walks you through a grocery store setting and helps you choose items that you and your family will eat. You walk through the aisles and choose peas instead of green beans, fruit cocktail instead of cranberry sauce, skip the tuna, and choose frozen chicken breast over sausage. You thank the volunteer who'd walked the aisles with you as they offer to help you carry things out to your car. Do you still feel like a number? Do you feel you've been helped?

A Choice Food Pantry operates like a grocery store. Clients choose the items they want/will use based on their families needs. Choice Pantries eliminate food waste as well as allow for dietary restrictions such as allergies or diabetes. Less food being wasted is economical for the pantry allowing it to buy more food and better serve their clients. It also creates more volunteer interaction and the chance for volunteers to teach clients responsible food choices. But most importantly it allows clients to make their own food choices which boosts client morale and lowers the shame many feel about going to a food pantry. Don't believe us? Visit a Choice Food Pantry online!


Kaitlyn Baker said...

Great article! I love choice pantries because they help to empower people who are likely feeling powerless in their situation. To be able to choose what you eat makes a big difference to many who visit choice pantries.

CouponBootCamp said...

This is a wonderful concept. Is there a possibility of incorporating in our community? Let me know how I can help!