Analysis of a Client-Based Opinion Survey of the St. John’s Bread & Life Digital Choice Food Pantry: Creating a Model of Sustainable Development for Enhancing Food Security and Nutritional Well-Being while Decreasing Health Disparities
Barrett P. Brenton, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Ozanam Scholar Students: Michael Eder, Victoria Gander and Joseph Canicatti
Abstract: Emergency food service providers have been working to end hunger by increasing food security through the development of new food distribution models. A key component of this transition has been the need to integrate client choice models that provide a normative shopping experience and supermarket environment that is sensitive to their dignity. St. John’s Bread & Life located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community of Central Brooklyn has responded to this challenge by creating an innovative model that utilizes a digital choice food pantry (DCFP) system. The organization has worked to develop a swipe-card and computer touch-screen shopping system. Clients are given points based on their individual and familial needs. A unique aspect of this system is that the less healthy a food item is the more points are deducted from their account. Vice versa, if food items are healthier fewer points are used and more of these items can be obtained. This component of the program encourages more nutritious eating. This paper will present the results of a client-based opinion survey of the Bread & Life DCFP system. This work is part of a St. John’s University community-based research project in partnership with Bread & Life. Feedback from clients on using the DCFP is a vital part of integrating community stakeholders in to the analysis and decision making process. It will also be used to target nutrition education and the integration of healthy food choices from additional sources (e.g., SNAP, CSA, NYC Green Carts and Farmer’s Markets). This is an ongoing project with the primary objective of creating a sustainable and integral model of development that can best serve the health and nutritional needs of this community both effectively and with dignity.