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A study followed Denver's largest food pantry for seven years to evaluate the nutritional quality of food given to pantry participants as the method of providing food and policies changed. Originally food was given in boxes packed by volunteers in a storeroom without client input. Later, food delivery was changed to a market type system in which clients had some choice but were limited in the types and amounts of food they could choose. Finally, a third method was adopted in which the market model was used but clients could choose unlimited types and amounts of food.
Over the course of this study, the food pantry also developed nutrition policies for foods accepted and given, instituted nutrition education programs, and eventually changed staffing to include RDNs. Description and evaluation of nutrition programs is also presented as well as use of the food pantry to teach research methods for dietetic students.
CPE Level: 2
Learning Codes: 4070, 4010, 4020
- List nutrients that are often limited in food pantry foods and nutrients which are often provided in greater amounts than the number of calories given.
- Summarize the benefits of three different delivery methods of pantry food.
- Describe nutrition policy, education programs and student data collection at a food pantry, noting limitations and advantages.
- Bruce Rengers, PhD, RD
- Melissa Masters, PhD, RD