Through partnership with food pantries across San Diego County, the Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP) is fortunate to see many sites progress towards offering health-centered, client-based services to their clients, staff, and volunteers. The below blogs highlight some of our team’s favorite work completed or being done by NPP sites.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ElderHelp team at Hotel Sandford realized many of their senior residents are especially vulnerable to the virus. Quickly moving into action, the team decided to launch the Pop Up Pantry at this location. Pop Up Pantry operates as a weekly food delivery service to the residents of Hotel Sandford, bringing bags of food directly to the doorsteps of senior clients. Inspired by the initial success of the delivery program, ElderHelp and our Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP) team partnered up to see what other ways the site could support the needs of its seniors.
We worked with the Pop Up Pantry to tailor and implement a client survey for seniors. This included adapting questions for the Hotel Sandford population, increasing the survey’s readability by enlarging font size, and creating questions to capture program information for ElderHelp. During the month of November, surveys were distributed to each resident along with food bags. To incentivize survey participation, clients were offered thank you items such as cooking supplies or small gift cards. In total, 29 residents completed surveys, approximately a fourth of the total pantry clients.
Information gathered from these surveys will be used to create a new hybrid pantry model, consisting of half in-person pick-up and half home delivery. Additionally, the survey helped identify desired inventory items and additional needs from clients. One notable finding we discovered was learning many of the senior residents could benefit from and are potentially eligible for additional food security programs, such as CalFresh and Meals on Wheels.
We extend a special thank you to the Sandford Hotel, ElderHelp, and particularly the residents who informed the pantry on how to best offer assistance.