The Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank operates a “Client choice” model for distribution of emergency food that is similar to a grocery store. Clients are able to select their own food, unlike other pantries which provide fixed boxes of food with limited items and no opportunity to select the items they want. The client choice option allows recipients the ability to choose from a wide variety of foods, which enables them to better meet their own personal dietary needs.
Some advantages of the client choice model are:
- · Maintaining a sense of dignity for clients and their families. Having the freedom to make their own food choices positively impacts a client’s confidence and self-esteem. Clients also have the ability to exercise their financial skills as they shop, compare and choose items to augment their month food budget.
- · Higher satisfaction with the food they are able to choose.
- · More opportunity for volunteers and clients to interact, leading to more social and supportive interaction.
- · Less waste and ultimately less cost to provide the food. Clients may have different wants and needs based on food preparation capabilities or dietary restrictions — distributing pre-chosen food can result in waste of precious pantry resources the client cannot consume. When given the ability to select their own food items, clients tend to only select items they know they can and will use.
For more information about the benefits of the client choice food pantry model being implemented at Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank, or to learn about opportunities to support your neighbors and community, and volunteer contact us or visit our new blog.