058: Food from Tablets to Tables & The Metrics of Dignity

logo_ycp_lrgWe interview Daniel S. Reyes, the Deputy Executive Director from NY Common Pantry about their choice pantry program. Daniel shares what the organization learned about how this move to digitization improved their stockroom efficiency and helped them better understand what their customers wanted. Most importantly it increased the dignity of the people they served by giving them options, while also increasing the utilization of volunteers in their process.

About the Choice Pantry Program

NY Common Pantry transitioned to its digital system five years ago to offer greater choice to its +300,000 annual visitors. Prior to the transition, volunteers made the same package of items for everyone based on family size. Now 10 percent of the organization’s customers order online, while the others use on-site tablets. With an assist from volunteers, they scroll through options in each of five ‘MyPlate’ food groups. The menu is translated into Chinese and Spanish in addition to English, it also has pictures of each item to combat any literacy challenges. Once a list is submitted, a ticket is printed in the packing room, where volunteers immediately fulfill the order. Time from log on to ready-for-pick- up is about 15-20 minutes.