Best Practices

What are the best practices to making any of the client choice models work?

  • Using your pantry design, take a walk through the flow of your pantry and determine what the best process is for patrons to check-in, engage with the pantry, check out, where are volunteers needed, what processes will make all of this run as smooth as possible so that you don’t need to do all jobs all the time!
    • Layout your stocking the pantry plan
      • Team members need to ensure the pantry is organized, stocked, and ready for when clients arrive.
    • Determine a check-in process
      • After a client signs in, determine if they will navigate the pantry on their own or if you will have volunteers guiding them. With the below color-coded system, it would be simple to allow clients to shop on their own. 
      • During check-in, some pantries use a color-coded system to signify family size for the food bag guide. 
        • For example, a family of 1 or 2 could receive a blue lanyard with a name card inserted. The clients are issued that name card during their first check-in , and each time the client comes back they bring the card with them. The volunteer checks the client in, verifies the information is still the same, and the client is on their way to shopping quickly.  
        • Another option is a colored sticker. The client checks in with the volunteer and then is given a colored sticker to signify family size.
        • With either color coded method, the volunteers who work other positions still know the family size without having to ask extra questions.
    • Set a during pantry hour plan
      • Team members may need to re-stock and straighten up shelves during pantry hours.
      • Team members can help guide clients if they are uncertain of new foods, how to prepare foods, and can give food suggestions for maintaining good health.
    • Determine your check-out process
      • Do you need to have a weigh station to weigh out the food?
      • Do you have any more information or resources that the client can engage with after they make their selections?
      • How can you empower your clients as they leave the pantry?
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