Success of Food Banks When Patrons Have Choice

Generally, food banks hand each patron a bag of food. That’s great when the food items in the bag actually suit the needs and likes of the patron and the patron’s family. However, patrons don’t always need what’s in the bag or their family may not “like” the food items they are given.

As a result, some pantries have begun offering patrons choices. One pantry, St. John’s Bread and Life, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has designed a point system, assigning points to each food item and allotting points for each patron to spend. That way, each patron can fill a bag with food that he/she and his/her family will actually consume.

Tina Rosenberg reports on this trend in her recent article for The New York Times, “To Feed More, Food Pantries Learn from Supermarkets.”


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