Needs and preferences among food pantry clients Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • INTRODUCTION: Food pantries serve households in need, including many with a family member with a diet-related chronic disease, yet data on client priorities to inform hunger relief practices are lacking. We used a statewide client survey in Minnesota to determine needs and priorities of food pantry clients in 2017 and 2019 and to identify how well Minnesota pantries met those needs in 2019. METHODS: Our survey was administered in 2017 and 2019. Food pantries in Minnesota were mailed 25 surveys each, with instructions for administering the surveys anonymously to clients. Descriptive analyses compared 2017 and 2019 data and compared client priorities for foods and services with how often they were available at the pantry in 2019. RESULTS: The 2017 survey represented 4,321 clients from 188 pantries; the 2019 survey represented 5,529 clients from 220 pantries. Most measures of food pantry use were consistently high across the years; about three-quarters of clients had been visiting the pantry for a year or more. In 2019, 85% of clients said it was important to have fresh fruits and vegetables, but only 52% said these were always available. About two-thirds had a household member with a diet-related chronic disease. The ability to choose their own foods was clients' top priority. CONCLUSION: The types of food most requested by clients tended to be healthy but were inconsistently available. Most important to clients was being able to choose their own food. Results underscore the need for continued monitoring of client priorities.

Link to Article

publication date

  • 2021