Now, a relatively new model food pantry model is returning some of that power of choice to customers of several pantries across the city. Client choice or “supermarket-style” pantries allow customers to self select items as they would in a grocery store, ensuring that clients retain the dignity of choice, while eliminating food waste by encouraging customers to take those items which their families can use.
The client-choice model was first introduced in 1993 at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger here in
A fundamental restructuring of the relationship between customers and pantries lies at the core of the client choice mode, which directly challenges the idea that clients should merely accept what they are given. “It’s about trust,” says Wohl. “We trust in the customer and the knowledge they bring to us about their diets, their illness and their family background.”
CAMBA’s Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry is the latest City pantry to convert to client choice after completing the transition this summer. “It’s a more empowering model of helping people get through a food emergency,” says Janet Miller, CAMBA’s director of Food Programs. Client choice continues to gain support at pantries across the country, especially as resources wear thin and the threat of waste becomes even more detrimental to daily operations.
For more information about client choice pantries visit the Food Program page at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger.